With “solid-red” map and hospitalizations surging, Gov. Justice urges more vaccinations to stop the “terrible carnage”

CHARLESTON, WV – Gov. Jim Justice and members of the West Virginia COVID-19 pandemic response leadership team held another news briefing today to update the public on the State’s latest pandemic response efforts.


With the number of COVID-related hospitalizations and ICU patients in West Virginia at their highest points since the pandemic’s biggest wave in January – and still climbing – Gov. Justice continued pleading for more West Virginians to get vaccinated.

“We’ve got to someway realize that we’ve got to get vaccinated for all – not just for you, but for everybody – we’ve got to do this,” Gov. Justice said. “We can stop a lot of this terrible, terrible carnage.”

The Governor reported that the statewide death toll from COVID-19 reached 3,148 on Wednesday, with 24 deaths occurring since his last briefing just three days ago.

Of the patients currently hospitalized, 112 are on ventilators; a new record high for the entire pandemic. A total of 216 patients are in the ICU; the highest such mark in eight months and just three away from the all-time record high in this category as well.

COVID-19 Dashboard | Coronavirus.wv.gov

The total number of active COVID-19 cases in West Virginia has now surpassed 20,000 for the first time since Feb. 1. The active case count of 21,500 is an increase of more than 2,000 new cases since Friday last week.


Meanwhile, the County Alert System map now shows that 53 of the state’s 55 counties are either in the Red or Orange categories. A total of 41 counties are currently Red and 12 are Orange.

“Our map, for all practical purposes, looks solid-red now,” Gov. Justice said. “Really and truly, we’ve got a big-time situation in West Virginia, as we do all across this nation.

“The only way we’re going to get through this with an outcome that is halfway good is we’ve got to get more and more people vaccinated,” Gov. Justice continued. “That’s the only ticket we’ve got. I wish to goodness I could tell you something else. But the bottom line is we’re going to have a bunch more people die if we don’t kick it in gear like nobody’s business.”

The Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine is fully FDA-approved for the prevention of COVID-19 in individuals 16 years of age and older. The vaccine also continues to be available under emergency use authorization (EUA), including for individuals 12 through 15 years of age and for the administration of a third dose in certain immunocompromised individuals.

All West Virginians interested in being vaccinated are encouraged to visit Vaccinate.wv.gov or call the West Virginia Vaccine Info Line: 1-833-734-0965. The info line is open Monday-Friday from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Saturday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.


Gov. Justice also offered a reminder that tomorrow – Tuesday, Sept. 7 – marks the beginning of registration for the recently announced Healthy Grandfamilies vaccination incentive program.

The program will provide a $150 voucher for back-to-school supplies to all vaccinated grandfamilies in West Virginia; families where grandparents are the primary caregivers for their grandchildren.

To qualify, all vaccine-eligible members of the grandfamily – including grandparents and grandchildren ages 12 and older – must have received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. The family must also be enrolled in West Virginia State University’s Healthy Grandfamilies program.

Healthy Grandfamilies – which provides information and resources to grandparents who are raising one or more grandchildren – will assist in the administration of the school voucher incentive. According to the organization, about 19,000 West Virginia children live in households with a grandparent or grandparents as their primary caregiver.

For more information, visit healthygrandfamilies.com.


Online registration is now open for Round 2 of the “Do it for Babydog: Save a life, Change your life” Vaccination Sweepstakes.

All West Virginians who have had at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine can register at DoitforBabydog.wv.gov for an opportunity to join the list of winners. Over 173,000 West Virginians have already registered for Round 2 of the sweepstakes.

*Those who previously registered for Round 1 of the vaccination sweepstakes are required to register again to be eligible for Round 2*

Each week, five vaccinated West Virginia students ages 12-25 will win a full four-year scholarship to any public college or university in the state, including room and board, tuition, and books; a prize valued at over $100,000.

Additional weekly prizes for vaccinated West Virginians ages 18+ include:

  • Luxury high-end sports car
  • Custom fishing or pontoon boat
  • $150,000 toward the wedding of your dreams
  • Free gas for 10 years
  • WVU football or basketball season ticket package for two
  • Marshall football or basketball season ticket package for two
  • 2021-2022 season passes for two to a ski resort in West Virginia
  • Premium ATV or side-by-side
  • Top-of-the-line zero turn lawn mower

The next set of prize winners will be announced this Thursday, Sept. 9.

While the registration deadline to be eligible for this week’s giveaway has passed, vaccinated West Virginians are still able to register for future drawings.

Prize drawings will be held weekly, with winners being announced each Thursday through Oct. 7.


On Monday, Gov. Justice reported that, per the West Virginia Department of Education, there are 59 active outbreaks within the state public school system.

Click to view: COVID-19 Outbreaks in State Public Schools (WVDE)

There are four active outbreaks associated with churches throughout West Virginia. The churches are located in Barbour, Doddridge, Monroe, and Wayne counties.

Additionally, there are now 58 active outbreaks in long-term care facilities across the state.

Meanwhile, there are now 88 active inmate cases and 57 active staff cases across the West Virginia Division of Corrections and Rehabilitation system. To view the latest DCR case update, click here.


Additionally Monday, Gov. Justice took time out of his remarks on COVID-19 to wish all West Virginians a happy and safe Labor Day.

“On this wonderful holiday, we recognize the labor and the strength that has built this nation. But this year, we especially need to recognize the labor of all those who have run to the fire to protect us all through this terrible pandemic,” Gov. Justice said. “Whether they were our first responders, our health departments and our hospitals, or even our grocery workers and others who stayed open through the pandemic, knowing that every day, when they climbed out of bed and strapped on their boots, they were running right to the fire for all of us.”


Gov. Justice also took time Monday to recap his visit to Bluefield over the weekend to participate in the pre-game festivities for the revamped Bluefield State College football program, which played its first game in 41 years on Saturday.

“I was able to do the coin toss,” Gov. Justice said. “Bluefield State is on the move. It was a good day. I’m really proud of that school and their contributions to southern West Virginia. Keep up the great work.”