COVID-19 UPDATE: Gov. Justice adding free testing opportunities in state’s only two Orange counties: Kanawha and Barbour

9/28/2020


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CHARLESTON, WV – Gov. Jim Justice joined West Virginia health leaders and other officials today for his latest daily press briefing regarding the State’s COVID-19 response.
AGGRESSIVE TESTING: KANAWHA AND BARBOUR COUNTIES
During Monday’s briefing, Gov. Justice announced that he has directed the West Virginia National Guard and the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources to immediately stand up several additional free COVID-19 testing events throughout the week in the only two West Virginia counties currently classified as Orange in the DHHR’s Monday County Alert System map: Kanawha and Barbour counties.
“We’re going to keep running to the fire,” Gov. Justice said. “What we need to do is blanket our Orange counties and – God forbid, if we had any Red counties – and test and test and test.

“It’s the only way we can get a real understanding of how many cases we truly have in these counties and it’s our best way to get our kids back to school in a way that’s super safe for everyone in the community.”

In Kanawha County, where students have yet to return to school in-person due to elevated community spread, an additional testing site has been established at George Washington High School in Charleston. Evening testing events will be held on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday of this week from 3 p.m. until 7 p.m. A full-day testing event will be held on Thursday this week from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m.

Additional Kanawha County testing events this week include South Charleston High School on Thursday from 11 a.m. until 5 p.m. and Riverside High School on Friday from 11 a.m. until 5 p.m.

“With all of these events, we have Kanawha County covered from a testing standpoint,” Gov. Justice said. “We strongly encourage everybody to come out and get tested.

Additional testing will also be offered in Barbour County, which quickly accelerated to Orange status in Monday’s County Alert System map after being designated as Green in Saturday’s Department of Education School Alert System map. A testing event will be held at the Barbour County Fairgrounds on Tuesday this week from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m.

“The more we test, the more we learn,” Gov. Justice said. “The more we test, the more likely we are to find those who could spread this disease without even knowing they have it. That’s exactly what we have to do if we’re going to stop this thing in its tracks.”
AGGRESSIVE TESTING: ADDITIONAL SITES IN SEVERAL OTHER COUNTIES
Also on Monday, Gov. Justice offered a reminder that additional free testing events are scheduled in the upcoming weeks for several counties all across West Virginia.

This testing is available to all residents in selected counties, 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.

Click here to view all locations, dates, times and more details
COVID-19 CASE NUMBERS UPDATE
Additionally Monday, Gov. Justice reported that the number of active COVID-19 cases across the state is at 3,987, up from 3,655 on Friday. However, West Virginia’s statewide rate of COVID-19 transmission – also known as Rt – continues to improve, dropping to 0.94 Monday afternoon; tied for the ninth-best such rate of any state in the country. 

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

Click here to view the latest COVID-19 data
OUTBREAK REPORT
Also on Monday, Gov. Justice reported that Mount Olive Correctional Complex in Fayette County now has seven active cases of COVID-19 among its inmate population. One additional positive inmate has been identified within North Central Regional Jail in Doddridge County.

Across the entire Division of Corrections and Rehabilitation (DCR) system, there are now 21 active cases among employees, 15 of whom work at Mount Olive.

Click here to view the latest corrections facility update

West Virginia now has nine active church-related outbreaks across five counties: Fayette, Harrison, Kanawha, Nicholas, and Tucker counties. 

There are now 37 outbreaks in long-term care facilities across the state, up from 36 on Friday.

Gov. Justice also reported that, per the West Virginia Department of Education, there are currently 17 active outbreaks with 52 confirmed cases in public schools across the state.

Click here to view the WVDE’s Current Outbreaks in Schools chart
REVIEW OF LATEST DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION SATURDAY MAP UPDATE
Additionally Monday, Gov. Justice reviewed this past Saturday’s 5 p.m West Virginia Department of Education color-coded School Alert System map update, which determines the level of scholastic, athletic, and extracurricular activities permitted in each county for that particular week.

The results of the update on Saturday, Sept. 26, 2020, were as follows:

Red counties: 0
Orange counties: 2 (Kanawha, Wayne)
Gold counties: 4 (Fayette, Logan, Mingo, Summers)
Yellow counties: 10 (Berkeley, Boone, Doddridge, Jackson, Marshall, Mineral, Morgan, Putnam, Wirt, Wyoming)
Green counties: 39 (All others)

State health leaders who make up the COVID-19 Data Review Panel verified the data to ensure the map was a true indication of the safety level in each county.
FLU VACCINE REMINDER
Once again Monday, Gov. Justice took time out of his remarks on COVID-19 to remind and encourage all West Virginians to get their flu vaccine.

“I again want to remind and encourage all West Virginians to get their flu vaccine,” Gov. Justice said. “It’s more important than ever this year. It protects you and your loved ones and reduces the burden on hospitals and healthcare systems.”

According to health officials, everyone 6 months and older should receive this vaccine.

“I continue to encourage everyone who’s of age to get your vaccine,” Gov. Justice said. “I was such a wonderful guinea pig getting tested for COVID last week that I’m going to roll up my sleeve this week and let everyone see me get my flu shot so they will be encouraged to do the same.”
WEST VIRGINIA REMAINS AMONG NATIONAL LEADERS IN CENSUS RESPONSE RATE; ALL URGED TO PARTICIPATE
Once more today, Gov. Justice asked all West Virginians to participate in the 2020 United States Census.

West Virginia remains alone atop the national standings with the #1 best Census response rate in the country: 99.9 percent.

For perspective, during the last Census in 2010, the state’s final response rate was just 74 percent.

Every West Virginian who does not respond to the Census represents a loss of $20,000 in federal funds over the next 10 years for the state and its local communities. The funds can go toward things like healthcare, education, infrastructure, school lunch programs, and more.

Be counted in minutes: 2020census.gov.
SMALL BUSINESS GRANTS: OVER $21 MILLION HAS NOW BEEN AWARDED
Also today, Gov. Justice provided an update on small businesses that have applied for funding through the Governor’s West Virginia CARES Act Small Business Grant Program, reporting that over 8,000 applications have been submitted, with more than $21 million being awarded to date.

The initiative is providing $150 million of West Virginia’s CARES Act funding to qualifying businesses across the state. Any West Virginia-based small business, in existence on March 1, 2020, with 1-35 employees, is able to apply for up to $5,000 in grant funding.

Gov. Justice has also opened up the West Virginia CARES Act Small Business Grant Program to sole proprietorships and self-employed individuals in West Virginia.

Any sole proprietor or self-employed person, in operation on or before March 1, 2020, is now able to apply for up to $2,000 in grant funding.

Businesses planning to apply must first be registered as a vendor with the State to be eligible. Guidelines for the grants and instructions on how to apply are available at Grants.wv.gov.

The application will remain open until Sept. 30, 2020.
CITIES/COUNTIES GRANT FUNDING: OVER $121 MILLION HAS NOW BEEN AWARDED
Also today, Gov. Justice provided an update on cities and counties throughout West Virginia applying for funds through the federal CARES Act, reporting that more than $121 million has now been awarded all across the state. To date, 191 cities and counties have applied for this grant funding.

A web portal is available for city and county government officials to apply. Interested parties can also call the helpline: 1-833-94-GRANT.

Each of the recipients of CARES Act funding, along with grant amounts, are now available to view through the West Virginia State Auditor’s Office COVID-19 transparency website.
ADDITIONAL INFORMATION
Click here to view all Executive Orders and other actions taken by Gov. Justice to combat the spread of COVID-19 in West Virginia.

For more information about COVID-19 prevention and more, call the State’s toll-free hotline at 1-800-887-4304 or visit Coronavirus.wv.gov.
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Additional media content, including video clips and/or photos from this event, will be posted on the Governor's Office website as they become available. You can find a link on the thumbnail image at the top of this press release.
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