Justice says COVID briefings will transition to regular statewide updates

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Gov. Jim Justice says his weekly COVID-19 media briefings will transition to regular updates from his administration and focus less on the pandemic.

“We’re going to move forward,” Justice said during Wednesday’s briefing.

West Virginia’s state of emergency over COVID-19 officially ended on Jan. 1.

Justice said his COVID briefings will be rebrand as “The Justice Administration Update Briefings.” He said updates about COVID deaths, vaccines and other pandemic related topics will still be discussed if needed.

“We will still provide updates on COVID as necessary and we will take questions from the media as we have in the past, but I will also be incorporating other elements into the briefings,” the governor said.

Despite the change, Justice said West Virginians should continue to keep up to date with their vaccinations.

“If by chance, this thing turns tough again and it really gets going, then we will go back to a purely COVID briefing,” he said.

During his Wednesday briefing, Justice praised his advisers for helping the state navigate the pandemic. He said the change is meant to highlight other positive work taking place in West Virginia.

“It gives us the opportunity to reflect on all of the things that are happening across our state and it gives you a great deal of information that you may like to have,” he said.

The governor first declared a state of emergency on March 16, 2020. A day after it was declared, the governor ordered the closure of all restaurants and bars, gyms and recreational facilities and more. Schools were also closed.

West Virginia has recorded 7,704 deaths since the start of the pandemic.

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