CHARLESTON, W.Va. – West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice began his Wednesday virtual COVID-19 briefing by reading the more than 60 most recent virus-related deaths in the state, as well as reporting a daily positivity rate of more than 11%.
The governor also reported that 46 of the state’s 55 counties are “red” or “orange” on the color-coded map. Randolph County is the only county labeled as “green.”
COVID-19 Vaccination Efforts:
West Virginia’s vaccination rate continues to lead the nation, Justice said, with 18,488 vaccines given and almost 61,000 doses left to give. The governor again highlighted the speed with which the vaccine has been distributed to long term care facilities in the state. He compared West Virginia’s efforts to those of Texas, which does not plan to start vaccinating its nursing home residents and staff until Dec. 28, while West Virginia will be finished by then, Justice said.
“Let’s just don’t be silly,” Gov. Justice said referencing a conspiracy theory about vaccine side effects he heard from several teenagers.
Maj. Gen. James Hoyer explained the protocols his West Virginia National Guard troops follow while distributing the vaccine around the state. You can watch his full explanation below:
“You’ve got to be super careful with your family right now,” Justice said about the holiday season. He went on to suggest that people not bring their families together and if families do gather, they should wear masks. Justice also encouraged people to engage in talking, prayers and love on the phone.
Gov. Justice said that he and his staff will provide a briefing at 3:00 p.m. on Christmas Day.
When asked for his comments on President Trump’s reaction to the latest federal stimulus package, where he called for larger checks for families, Justice agreed with the president and decried the politics on Washington, D.C.
Governor’s new Chief of Staff:
Justice also announced that his long-term general counsel Brian Abraham has been promoted to be the governor’s Chief of Staff, replacing Mike Hall, who is retiring.