MORGANTOWN — After once again scolding the media – and one newspaper in particular – at some length for not reporting enough good West Virginia news, Gov. Jim Justice, Gov. Jim Justice pivoted his Wednesday COVID-19 briefing to offer a couple pieces of news.
First, on Tuesday, he said, the state received 34,960 vaccine doses. “We’re going to put every single last one of them in somebody’s arm before the weekend’s over.”
Those vaccines will save lives, he said, swinging back to what he’s perceived as a lack of reporting on West Virginia’s vaccine leadership. “Tell me what the value of a life is. Tell me what the news really is.”
US. Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar, Justice said, asked him to talk to other governors in a conference call about how West Virginia has succeeded because – as Justice quoted Azar, “We’re failing across the country.”
The other piece of news deals with Operation Save Our Wisdom, the plan to vaccinate senior citizens across the state. Justice mentioned the news that Operation Warp Speed has changed its guidance to expand vaccine access to everyone age 65 and up and to those with underlying health conditions, and that the feds will stop reserving millions of second-round doses and get them out to the states.
With that in mind, Justice said he’d ordered Operation SOW to immediately lower its vaccine age from to 70. nd next week, if supplies allow, he’ll lower the threshold to 65.
As of Wednesday, the state has put into arms 100,696 of its 132,700 allocated first-round doses and16,434 of its allotted 28,275 second-round doses.
Justice said they have 2,000 second round doses ready and waiting to get into someone’s arm. “If you’re not showing up, you’re not making the right decision.” And if people don’t appear for their second dose, someone else will get it.
The Dominion Post passed along a question from readers who have had or are about to have their first dose and can’t tell from the new vaccine page on the state coronavirus dashboard if there’s adequate supply for a second dose.
Joint Interagency Task Force leader James Hoyer said those who received a first dose through Operation Warp Speed automatically has a second dose assigned so availability should not be a worry.
Justice also had one more bit of news. For renters and landlords affected by COVID, the Mountaineer Rental Assistance Program, run by the West Virginia Housing Development Fund, will offer direct assistance to renters who have lost their job, had income reduced or suffered a significant loss or finaincial loss because of the pandemic.
Federal funds and guidance are on the way for this, he said. The program is not open yet. He didn’t have full details and said he would provide those as soon as he had them.
Finally Homeland Security Deputy Secretary Thom Kirk appeared during briefing to address reports of widespread threats expected at state capitals across the country, and security preparations for the legislative session and inauguration.
Kirk said they have information flowing in constantly and work with a wide variety of agencies.
“At this time, we’re not aware of any credible threats in our region or to any of our governmental employees, buildings or any of our state legislators,” he said.
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