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Gov. Justice Announces Free In-Home COVID-19 Testing Now Available for All West Virginians

CHARLESTON, WV – Gov. Jim Justice joined West Virginia health leaders and other officials Wednesday for a press briefing regarding the State’s COVID-19 response.

During Wednesday’s briefing, Gov. Justice announced that free in-home COVID-19 testing is now available for all West Virginians.

“We have partnered with Vault Health to bring this convenient test that is mailed directly to your home,” Gov. Justice said. “These saliva-based test kits are available to West Virginia residents at no cost.”

Any fees will be waived once a West Virginia address is entered on the Vault Health website. More information is available at Coronavirus.wv.gov.

These in-home testing kits are available in addition to free testing sites, with events in 50 counties scheduled for the near future through the Governor’s Aggressive Testing initiative.

This testing is available to all residents, including asymptomatic individuals. Proof of insurance is not required. Attendees should bring identification, such as a driver’s license or proof of address, to help in returning test results. Those under the age of 18 must be accompanied by a parent or legal guardian.

An interactive online map of all free testing locations across West Virginia is available on the state’s COVID-19 website. Users can filter the map by type of testing site, including daily testing events, recurring testing events, and pharmacy testing locations. Each location is marked on the map with a pin. After finding a testing location nearby, users are able to click on the pin for more information about that particular testing site, including the specific location and timeframe during which testing will be held.

Also on Wednesday, Gov. Justice provided a detailed data overview of the recent surge of cases being seen in West Virginia, particularly over the past month.

The Governor reported that the number of COVID-19 cases in West Virginia has increased 91% from Oct. 31 to Nov. 30, 2020. Nearly half (49%) of West Virginia’s total cases during the COVID-19 pandemic have occurred in the past 30 days.

From October to November, West Virginia saw an increase of 73% in reports of deaths associated with COVID-19, with 50% of all reported deaths in West Virginia associated with COVID-19 occurring in the past eight weeks. Meanwhile, 47% of West Virginia’s deaths have occurred in a long-term care facility or assisted living facility.

West Virginia currently ranks 10th in the nation for testing, averaging 13,376 tests per day over the past week, for a total of more than 93,000 tests.

As for current daily case data, Gov. Justice reported that the current number of active cases in the state has also reached a new record high of 17,125. The number of total patients hospitalized also hit a record high of 622, with 164 patients currently in the ICU.

The cumulative percent of positive cases is now 3.69%, up from 3.64% on Monday and the highest such rate seen in West Virginia since April 23, 2020.

As of Wednesday morning, the statewide rate of COVID-19 transmission – also known as Rt – was 1.06; the 29th-best such rate of any state in the country.

Meanwhile, West Virginia continues to outperform the national average – as well as the rates of all of its bordering states – in lowest percentage of population positive, and lowest percentage of positive test results.

Gov. Justice also provided a reminder that, with the first phase of vaccine distribution now expected to begin within two weeks, this is a critical time for residents to redouble efforts to stay safe, especially those who may be especially vulnerable.

“It is proven over and over that the overwhelming number of people who are dying are in excess of 65 years of age,” Gov. Justice said. “I absolutely ask you, in every way, for the next few weeks, please try, with all in you, to not get around others and to wear a mask at all times around others. Please try to get people to get your groceries, medications, or whatever, for you, or get them delivered, whatever you have to do, for the next few weeks.”

Additionally Wednesday, Gov. Justice announced that he intends to provide additional information on Friday, regarding the initial allocation of COVID-19 vaccine doses in West Virginia.

The first doses of vaccine are still expected to arrive in West Virginia by the second week of December.

Both vaccines require the recipient to take two doses, with the second dose approximately three to four weeks after the first dose.

In previous briefings, Gov. Justice has announced that, due to the limited supply expected at first, the vaccine will be distributed in phases, beginning with the Phase 1 group: healthcare workers who are at very high risk for contracting COVID-19. The distribution, which is being managed by the West Virginia National Guard, is expected to ramp up very quickly.