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Fairs and Festivals in the state open to public May 1; vaccines open to 16 and up

Fairs and festivals throughout West Virginia are slated to reopen to the public on May 1 – if the number of active COVID-19 cases continue to decline statewide, Gov. Jim Justice said Monday.

“These events are part of our fiber,” Justice said during his regular COVID-19 update, adding updated safety guidelines will be forthcoming.

Gov. Justice also said Monday any West Virginian age 16 and older can now get vaccinated. But, people 65 and older will still be given preference.

“Right now if you’re 16 and older, get into one of our clinics,” Justice said. “We don’t want to take our foot off the gas. Now is our time.”

There have been an additional dozen COVID-19-related deaths in the state since Friday, and 276 positive cases. Active cases in the state total 5,600.

“It’s a terrible killer pandemic that is still taking lives in West Virginia,” he said.

Just under 200 people – 198 – remain hospitalized with the virus, including 67 in intensive care.
Justice said 709,830 have received vaccines, including 267,927 who have received their second shots.

“Seventy percent of our population who are 65 and older have been vaccinated,” he said. “If you get vaccinated you could still get COVID, but the likelihood of being hospitalized or dying from the virus is zero. Quit listening to the garbage people are feeding you.”

The state should have results from its investigation of unreported 165 COVID-19 deaths at 70 health care facilities, hospitals and nursing homes in 30 counties. The omissions were discovered earlier this month during a routine check of death certificates at the state Office of Vital Statistics.

A previously published list provided by the state shows Mon Health Medical Center and J.W. Ruby Memorial Hospital were among those failing to report such deaths. On Friday, Justice said there were 20 more unreported COVID-19 deaths.