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WVa gov announces 50 new winners in vaccination sweepstakes

July 29, 2021 GMT

LEWISBURG, W.Va. (AP) — West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice surprised a retired health care worker with a $1 million check as the most recent winner of the state’s vaccination sweepstakes amid an uptick in new coronavirus cases.

Wanda Coleman of Ronceverte got together Wednesday with former coworkers at West Virginia School of Osteopathic Medicine in Lewisburg, believing it was a ceremony to honor a recently retired staff member.

Justice made some remarks about the importance of being vaccinated against COVID-19, and school officials said they were honoring Coleman for 10 years of service with the Robert C. Byrd Clinic. But as she was returning to her seat, Justice revealed her name had been drawn for the million-dollar prize.

It was one of 50 prizes announced Wednesday, the governor’s office said.

He also surprised two people with new custom-outfitted trucks. Other prizes included two full four-year scholarships to any public institution in the state, five lifetime hunting licenses, five lifetime fishing licenses, five custom hunting rifles, five custom hunting shotguns and 25 weekend getaways to West Virginia State Parks.

Residents can still sign up for the drawings through Sunday. The last drawings will be held on Aug. 4 and will include a $1.588 million grand prize and a $588,000 second prize in addition to the standard non-cash weekly prizes.

On Thursday, health officials reported 180 confirmed cases of the coronavirus statewide, the highest daily number since 176 cases were reported May 21.

Confirmed cases of the more contagious delta variant have more than doubled in the past week to 100 statewide, including 24 in Berkeley County alone in the Eastern Panhandle, health officials said.

The number of active cases, 1,910, have more than doubled since bottoming out at 882 on July 9.