WV Gov. Justice reports decreased COVID-19 deaths and outbreaks, additional doses coming if J&J vaccine is approved


CHARLESTON, W.Va. – “It’s been forever since I’ve been able to look at a report like this,” West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice said, leading off Friday’s virtual COVID-19 briefing, with the announcement that state has lost just six people since Wednesday.

Outbreaks in long-term care facilities in the state are down to nine, reported Gov. Justice. The state’s only church outbreak is in Webster County, Justice said.

Vaccination Update:

Should the FDA approve the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, the state anticipates getting an additional 15,000 doses as early as next week, Justice said. The Johnson & Johnson vaccine requires only one shot and less refrigeration than the other vaccines, the governor explained.

West Virginia is also joining the federal independent pharmacy vaccine program, which should also bring more doses to the state in the coming weeks, officials said.

Vaccine doses are being diverted from larger counties, like Monongalia County, to smaller counties that have not received as many doses to date, state officials said.

The DHHR is still working to rectify a glitch in the system through Walgreens where residents were called to get vaccinated, but the pharmacy did not have a dose for them. Anyone who runs into this or other issues should call that state vaccine hotline at 833-734-0965, DHHR officials said.

When asked about how vaccinations could be re-directed to help make high school athletics safer, Gov. Justice explained that most coaches are teachers and have been or would be vaccinated under vaccination programs aimed at school personnel. Justice then joked that high school basketball officials who do a better job than others, should be vaccinated before other officials.

Trout Stocking:

The governor also spoke at length about the state’s trout stocking program, following a media event he held Friday morning as part of the 49th anniversary commemoration of the Buffalo Creek Disaster.

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