CHARLESTON, W.Va. – During Monday’s virtual COVID-19 briefing, West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice reported that as of Monday, 54 counties in the state are “orange”(11) or “red”(43). Calhoun County is “gold.”
So far, the state has received 87,000 vaccine doses for first shot and 16,000 second shots, Justice said. They are currently combined on the DHHR’s dashboard and need to be separated, the governor commented. Of the initial shots, 52,221 have been given to residents. Of those, 8,300 have gone to people above age 80, Justice said.
The first shot makes you less likely to get COVID, with the second one taking your resistance to 95%, the governor said.
Until you are vaccinated and even afterward, “Your best ammo today is this mask and you gotta wear it,” Justice said.
The state will release a schedule on Tuesday on how more shots will be given to residents 80 and above, as well as how teachers and service personnel will be vaccinated, Gov. Justice promised.
The governor said he hopes that 100% of teachers and service personnel will choose to be vaccinated.
The state has also released a new COVID-19 vaccine info line: 833-734-0965
Return to school announcement:
Addressing last week’s announcement that schools in the state will reopen in late January, Justice said: “the virtual concept is better than nothing, but it does not replace the in-person situation you have with a teacher.”
When asked about teachers’ apprehensions about going back to in-person classes, Justice suggested that they consider grocery story workers who are working without being vaccinated.
Viral video of The Greenbrier New Year’s Eve party:
The governor also addressed a viral video of a New Year’s Eve party at The Greenbrier that showed some guests not following mask and social distancing guidelines: “It’s a political hit at me, driven by Democrat senators. It’s a slap at an employer that is employing 1,500 people in great jobs. I’m not going to apologize for employing 1,500 people there. Would it make you happy if I said, just close it? What in the world do you want me to do?”
The video was featured on national news stories:
Justice said he wasn’t at The Greenbrier on New Year’s Eve and watched the ball drop from home, listened to J LO sing, kissed Cathy and went to sleep.
“Could they have done better in this situation, probably so. If they had their mask off, they shouldn’t have had their mask off, period. It shouldn’t happen in any business, anywhere. I will promise you to God above that The Greenbrier is absolutely following every protocol that you can possible follow. I promise you, with all in me, that if the Greenbrier is doing something that they’re not supposed to do, then absolutely they’ll have me on them like stink on you know what,” Justice concluded.
Some questions to the governor asked why events like the one at the Greenbrier are allowed to happen when high school sports are not. You can read more on the governor’s reaction here.
State health officials recommend that anyone who attended the party and have symptoms, should contact their doctor. They also said that they got calls of gatherings from around the state.
State employee COVID-19 Deaths:
The governor also mentioned the first COVID-19 death of a West Virginia corrections officer, Cpl. Mark Rustemeyer, who worked at the Saint Marys Correctional Center.
Justice also recognized the death of West Virginia State Police Academy employee Capt. Chuck Sadler.