Gov. Justice details COVID-19 vaccine rollout, announces end to in-home tests

Coronavirus

CHARLESTON, W.Va. – West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice listed off the 37 latest deaths in the state to begin Friday’s virtual COVID-19 briefing.

Justice also reported that 36 of the state’s 55 counties are “red” or “orange” on the color coded map and that record highs of hospitalizations(697) and ICU patients(193) have again been set.

Trying to keep things open has been a challenge, Justice said. He went on to say that a “complete shutdown” would probably make things better, but a lot of consequences of doing so outweigh the benefits.

There are not really any small things that can be done, Justice continued.

Masks:

The governor continues to plead with state residents to wear masks and social distance. “We have to manage ourselves,” Justice said.

Those who don’t believe in wearing a mask are “such a minority it is unbelievable,” Justice said. The governor believes a poll would show that 93-94% of West Virginians believe we should wear a mask. “At the end of the day, we gotta wear a mask,” Justice said in conclusion.

State coronavirus “czar’ Dr. Clay Marsh encouraged leadership from individuals, not just government officials, when it comes to mask-wearing.

State health officials said estimates are that 50% of people who are positive for COVID-19 don’t have symptoms, making masks even more important.

Vaccination Update:

The governor also details roll-out plans for COVID-19 vaccinations in the state. Current plans call for two phases.

The first phase will be broken down into four sub-phases:

Additional phases will be announced as more vaccine doses become available, Justice said.

Dr. Marsh wanted people to know that warnings on social media that say the vaccines can make women sterile are false.

In-home testing stopped:

WV DHHR officials announced that the state has stopped offering in-home COVID-19 testing, provided by Vault. The in-home tests were just introduced on Dec. 2. DHHR officials said it was taking too much time to get results back.

Ski season safety/Enjoying WV’s outdoors:

Following a hotel grand opening announcement Thursday at Snowshoe Mountain, the governor was asked about the COVID-19 safety of ski season, which typically brings many out of state residents to West Virginia. Justice said he has worked with West Virginia Ski Association, which has put safety protocols in place. “I think we’re in good shape,” Justice said, mentioning that the Hatfield and McCoy ATV Trails reopening, last summer, went very well.

The governor encouraged residents to get out and enjoy the state’s beauty. He shared a photo he took Thursday, while out with his new birddog, “Little Lilly.”

Economic Announcements:

Justice also talked about Friday morning’s announcement that Mylan’s pharmaceutical production facility in Monongalia County will shut down later this year.

The governor also said that he was still working with Major League Baseball to help find a future for the Charleston Power minor league team, which based on announcements this week, appears to be left on the outside looking in.

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