CHARLESTON, W.Va. – West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice tempered optimism during Monday’s virtual COVID-19 briefing as he reported fewer deaths and a much improved Rt rate, currently third best in the country.
However, 53 of the state’s 55 counties are “orange” or “red” while most are “red.”
Justice also showed a segment who appeared on this morning on CNBC talking about West Virginia’s nation-leading vaccination effort, his take on storming of the U.S. Capitol and how he would work with President-elect Biden on further federal stimulus.
On the segment, Justice announced that 100 percent of vaccine doses allotted to the state have either been administered or tagged to a person’s name to be administered.
The governor also pointed to more positive press from NPR and a Canadian media outlet for the state’s vaccination work.
The governor continued to urge state residents to take the vaccine when it is available to them. “Are you afraid of growing a third arm or growing antlers? Where have you heard across this nation of bad things happening?” the governor asked.
For those currently not in line to be vaccinated, coronavirus “czar” Dr. Clay Marsh encouraged continued mask wearing.
Twelve more vaccination clinics will be held across the state this week, with details set to be released Tuesday, Justice said.
The state has added a tab, focused on vaccinations, to the DHHR’s Coronavirus dashboard.
Vaccinations are being offered to state senators and House of Delegates members as part of a “continuity of government,” as the legislature gets set to go into session, Justice said.
School & Sports Update:
After announcing a January 19 return to school, late last year, today Justice said he is issuing an executive order to allow counties to return to in-person learning for 8th grade and below. Grades nine and above will return as long their counties are not in the “red,” Justice said. It will apply to private and Christian schools as well, he continued.
The “orange zone” may be expanded later this week, allowing more students to return to the classroom, Justice said.
Justice also announced that if schools are being held in-person, sports can begin practices on February 14th and games on March 3. Counties in the “red” or that choose to do remote learning will not be able to play, Justice explained.
Reaction to Derrick Evans:
When asked about former Del. Derrick Evans involvement in the incident at the U.S. Capitol, Justice again made a Laugh In reference, calling Evans a “dumb bunny.” Justice went to say that Evans “ought to suffer the consequences.”