Gov. Justice, COVID Czar say West Virginia could transition out of pandemic and into endemic “very soon”
Gov. Justice, COVID Czar say West Virginia could transition out of pandemic and into endemic “very soon”

Gov. Justice, COVID Czar say West Virginia could transition out of pandemic and into endemic “very soon”

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 and vaccine distribution efforts.


During Monday’s briefing, Gov. Justice and State Coronavirus Czar Dr. Clay Marsh both discussed the possibility that West Virginia could soon see the pandemic transition into an endemic stage.

“We are anticipating, very soon, coming to an important fork in the road,” Dr. Marsh said. “We are starting to see a reduction of the most recent surge brought on by the Omicron variant of COVID-19 because of the levels of immunity that we have in our country, both from vaccination and boosting, and also from native immunity. And if the COVID virus does not have a substantial additional set of mutations that creates a different kind of variant that is a much different kind of variant, then indeed, given the immunity that we have and also the acceptance that I think our country has now for the impact of COVID-19 on our citizens, then presumably we will be navigating and transitioning to a more endemic sort of mode.”

“As far as moving from a pandemic to an endemic, wouldn’t it be wonderful if we could really start pulling out of this and have brighter and brighter days ahead in West Virginia,” Gov. Justice said. “We know we’re going to get through this. We’re just too tough to not get through it. But, with all of that, it’s been a long, long, two years, has it not?”

Active cases and hospitalization numbers continue to drop off precipitously.

In less than one month, total active cases statewide have decreased by more than 75%, while hospitalizations have decreased by more than 41%.

COVID-19 Dashboard |

An updated breakdown of the West Virginia County Alert Map is as follows:

Red (0) | Orange (2) Gold (20) | Yellow (16) | Green (17)

“On the other hand, COVID has been very resilient, so we can’t count it out, in case it takes a different turn and has more mutations that give us a brand new variant with new characteristics that would cause more problems for us,” Dr. Marsh said. “But the more people that are immunized, the more likely that we will see this start to fade from pandemic to more endemic.

“We will see what COVID does. But we are very hopeful that, very soon, we will continue to see this de-escalate so that we can continue to move toward getting back to the life that we are all hoping to see.”

Still, Gov. Justice continued to urge caution and vaccinations after announcing dozens of additional West Virginians who have passed away from COVID just since last week, the vast majority of whom were age 50 and above.

“I’m sure a bunch of these folks were never vaccinated,” Gov. Justice said. “Recognize that this disease is killing the elderly and recognize that, if you took the time to be vaccinated and you’re six months out from your last shot, your vaccinations are practically worthless to you right now. You’ve got to get that booster shot. That’s all there is to it. Just look at the math and look at the tea leaves and stack the deck in your favor.”


COVID-19 booster shots are now authorized and encouraged for all West Virginians ages 12 and older.

Booster shots are available for free to all eligible West Virginians. The waiting period for those who received initial series Pfizer shots has been shortened to five months. Read more about booster eligibility at

West Virginians can go to any location offering COVID-19 vaccines with their vaccination card to receive their booster. If your card has been lost, you can request a new one from the DHHR.

Initial series vaccinations remain available for free for all West Virginians ages 5 and older.

West Virginians interested in being vaccinated or having their children vaccinated are encouraged to visit or call the West Virginia Vaccine Info Line: 1-833-734-0965.


Also on Monday, Gov. Justice took time out of his remarks on COVID-19 to announce that the Hatfield-McCoy Trail System sold nearly 95,000 trail permits in 2021, which represents the highest number of annual permits ever sold in a single year, and the system’s 21st consecutive year of growth in ridership.

Permit sales saw a 46% lift over 2020 sales and 68% over 2019 sales. The growth the trail system experienced in 2021 alone is more than the first 10 years combined.

Click here to read more


Additionally Monday, Gov. Justice took time to announce the approval of over $8.3 million in Transportation Alternatives and Recreational Trails Program grants for 29 improvement projects in 21 counties across West Virginia.

These grants help towns and cities improve their network of recreational trails, biking/walking paths, sidewalks, and more, by either building from scratch or enhancing what they already have through various types of projects.

Click here to read more / view all grant recipients


Gov. Justice also took time to preview a pair of major announcements he is set to make tomorrow; February 22, 2022.

First, at 11 a.m., the Governor will hold a ribbon-cutting ceremony to celebrate the grand re-opening of the Blackwater Falls State Park Lodge after completion of a major renovation project.

Then, at 1 p.m., Gov. Justice will join U.S. Senator Shelley Moore Capito, U.S. Congressman David McKinley, Jimmy Wriston, and others to announce the bid award of a major new project on Corridor H.

If possible, both events will be livestreamed on the Governor’s social media channels:

YouTube | Twitter | Facebook

In the event that livestreaming is not possible, the full video from each event will be posted to the Governor’s YouTube channel


Finally, Gov. Justice took time to read a letter that he received from 11-year-old Anna Kate Bowen of Huntington, which was written after he tested positive for COVID-19:

“Dear Governor Justice, 

When I heard you were sick with COVID, I made you this painting to cheer you up. I know you and your team have been working hard to keep all of us safe, and I was sad to hear that you were sick. I found this quote and thought it might make you and others feel better: ‘Never forget that, with each day, as the sun rises, hope soars.’ I’m glad you’re feeling better and I hope everyone who is sick feels better soon.”

The Governor then showed off Bowen’s painting that accompanied her letter.

“It’s really, really amazing what the great kids of this state do, and just how smart and how good they really are,” Gov. Justice said. “I thank her and her wonderful family. I’ll keep this forever.”

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