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W.Va. COVID sweepstakes drawing postponed

CHARLESTON (AP) — West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice on Tuesday postponed the final drawing in the state’s vaccination sweepstakes for several days, allowing more people to get their COVID-19 shots and enter for a chance to receive prizes.

The final drawing, originally set for Wednesday, is now scheduled for Aug. 10. The registration deadline also was extended from Monday night to next Sunday, the governor’s office said in a news release.

Due to a system glitch, registration for a college scholarship prize available to younger residents had closed early. The problem was fixed, but rather than simply reopening registration for one prize, the registration was pushed back for all prizes, the statement said.

Six other weekly drawings have been held. Among the prizes being offered in the finale are a grand prize of $1.588 million, a second-place prize of $588,000, two custom pickup trucks, lifetime hunting and fishing licenses, hunting rifles and shotguns, and state park weekend lodging trips. In addition, two people ages 12 to 25 will receive a full, four-year college scholarship.

Demand for coronavirus vaccines have been increasing lately. About 1,900 shots were administered statewide on Monday alone. The statement said an additional 7,500 shots were administered over the weekend, up 84% from the previous weekend total of 4,070.

About 68% of state residents ages 12 and older have received at least one shot of the vaccine and about 57% are fully vaccinated, according to health figures.

On Monday, Justice said there were no plans for a mask mandate despite a recent increase in virus cases.

The number of daily confirmed cases statewide has jumped above 100 for six consecutive days, the first time that’s happened in more than two months. And the number of residents hospitalized from the virus has tripled in the past month to 178.

There have been at least 118 cases of the more contagious delta variant of the virus identified in 31 counties across the state, including 24 in Berkeley County alone. The delta case count has nearly tripled over the past week.

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