<img src="https:\/\/pocahontastimes.com\/wp-content\/uploads\/sites\/25\/2021\/09\/1.-Justice.jpg" alt="" width="600" height="337" class="aligncenter size-full wp-image-83003" \/>\r\n\r\nGovernor Jim Justice and members of the West Virginia COVID-19 pandemic response leadership team held another news briefing Tuesday to update the public on\u00a0the State\u2019s latest pandemic response efforts. \r\n\r\nWith the number of COVID-related hospitalizations and ICU patients in West Virginia at their highest points since the pandemic\u2019s biggest wave in January \u2013 and still climbing \u2013 Justice continued pleading for more West Virginians to get vaccinated.\r\n\r\n\u201cWe\u2019ve got to someway realize that we\u2019ve got to get vaccinated for all \u2013 not just for you, but for everybody \u2013 we\u2019ve got to do this,\u201d Justice said. \u201cWe can stop a lot of this terrible, terrible carnage.\u201d \r\n\r\nThe Governor reported that the statewide death toll from COVID-19 reached 3,148 on Wednesday, with 24 deaths occurring since his last briefing just three days ago.\r\n\r\nOf the patients currently hospitalized, 112 are on ventilators; a new record high for the entire pandemic. A total of 216 patients are in the ICU; the highest such mark in eight months and just three away from the all-time record high in this category, as well.\r\n\r\nThe daily total number of active COVID-19 cases in West Virginia has now surpassed 20,000 for the first time since February 1. The active case count of 21,500 is an increase of more than 2,000 new cases since Friday last week.\r\n\r\nMeanwhile, the County Alert System map now shows that 53 of the state\u2019s 55 counties are either in the Red or Orange categories. A total of 41 counties are currently Red and 12 are Orange.\r\n\r\n\u201cOur map, for all practical purposes, looks solid-red now,\u201d Justice said. \u201cReally and truly, we\u2019ve got a big-time situation in West Virginia, as we do all across this nation.\r\n\r\n\u201cThe only way we\u2019re going to get through this with an outcome that is halfway good is we\u2019ve got to get more and more people vaccinated,\u201d Justice continued. \u201cThat\u2019s the only ticket we\u2019ve got. I wish to goodness I could tell you something else. But the bottom line is we\u2019re going to have a bunch more people die if we don\u2019t kick it in gear like nobody\u2019s business.\u201d\r\n\r\nThe Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine is fully FDA-approved for the prevention of COVID-19 in individuals 16 years of age and older.\u00a0The vaccine also continues to be available under emergency use authorization (EUA), including for individuals 12 through 15 years of age and for the administration of a third dose in certain immune-compromised individuals.\r\n\r\nJustice also offered a reminder to sign-up for the recently announced Healthy Grand-families vaccination incentive program.\r\n\r\nThe program\u00a0will provide a $150 voucher for back-to-school supplies to all vaccinated grand-families in West Virginia; families where grandparents are the primary caregivers for their grandchildren.\r\n\r\nTo qualify, all vaccine-eligible members of the grand-family \u2013 including grand- parents and grandchildren ages 12 and older \u2013 must have received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. The family must also be enrolled in West Virginia State University\u2019s Healthy Grand-families program.