COVID-19 UPDATE: Gov. Justice commits to President Trump’s plan to extend unemployment benefits for West Virginians through the end of 2020

8/10/2020

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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.

 

 

GOV. JUSTICE COMMITS TO PRESIDENT TRUMP’S UNEMPLOYMENT EXTENSION FOR WEST VIRGINIANS
During Monday’s briefing, Gov. Justice announced that the State is prepared to do its part to ensure that unemployed West Virginians will be able to continue receiving benefits through the end of 2020.

“We cannot let our people that are sitting out there with no job – not knowing how in the world they’re going to pay rent, or keep from being evicted, or making their car payment, or putting food on the table – to just sit out there and wilt on the vine,” Gov. Justice said.

Over the weekend, President Donald J. Trump signed four executive orders, which extend federal enhanced unemployment insurance benefits to the end of 2020, at a rate of $400 per week.

“I commend President Trump for doing so,” Gov. Justice said. “We've got to get some money flowing to help West Virginians in need as well as people all across the country.”

Under the order, $300 of the weekly total is to be paid for by the federal government, while the remaining $100 is to be paid for by each state.

“Hands down, period, West Virginia is going to pay it,” Gov. Justice said. “We do so very willingly.

“I believe that the federal government will eventually reverse their stance on that and that they will pay the full 100 percent in the end,” Gov. Justice continued. “But we’ve got the money set aside to make it work either way.”

Gov. Justice further explained that preparing for a contingency like this was the entire reason he set aside $687 million of the State’s $1.25 billion in CARES Act funds to help support unemployed West Virginians through 2020 and 2021 through WorkForce West Virginia.

“That’s exactly why we did it and God knows I’m glad we did it,” Gov. Justice said. “We’re going to be able to take care of our people.”

 

 

 

 

UPDATES ON CORRECTIONAL FACILITIES, NURSING HOMES
Also on Monday, Gov. Justice provided updates on COVID-19 numbers at certain West Virginia correctional facilities and nursing homes.

The Governor announced that South Central Regional Jail in Kanawha County now has eight active cases among inmates and one active case among staff. The facility is on lockdown to eliminate movement within the jail. The Division of Corrections and Rehabilitation will re-test all inmates at the South Central Regional Jail.

The Governor added that DCR is also keeping a close eye on Southern Regional Jail in Raleigh County, which currently has 10 active cases that are all among staff members. One inmate that had been positive has now recovered.

Also during the briefing, Gov. Justice provided an update on the ongoing outbreak at Princeton Health Care Center, reporting that a total of 11 individuals associated with that facility now have died due to COVID-19.

“It’s just really sad,” Gov. Justice said. “This situation shows us just how vulnerable our nursing homes are and just how quickly this thing can move.”

The Governor challenged members of his administration to begin considering the feasibility of plans to re-test nursing homes and correctional facilities across the state.

 

 

 

 

WEST VIRGINIA’S RATE OF SPREAD 5TH-LOWEST IN NATION
Despite these challenges, Gov. Justice reported that West Virginia’s statewide rate of COVID-19 transmission – also known as R
t – again improved on Monday to the 5th-lowest such rate in the nation.

At one point, before Gov. Justice instituted his Statewide Indoor Face Covering Requirement, West Virginia’s
Rt value was the worst in the country.

The Governor added that West Virginia’s numbers remain considerably better than those of the surrounding states.

“Again, the national levels are way higher than our numbers in West Virginia,” Gov. Justice said. “But, at the same time, we’ve just got to continue to wear face coverings and absolutely do any and everything we can possibly do to help each other stay as safe as possible.”

 

 

 

 

SEVEN ACTIVE CHURCH OUTBREAKS IN FIVE COUNTIES
Also on Monday, Gov. Justice announced that a total of seven church-related outbreaks remain active within five counties across West Virginia, including Cabell, Grant, Logan, Mason, and Taylor counties.

These outbreaks account for about 89 total cases combined.

 

 

FREE COVID-19 TESTING
Gov. Justice also updated the schedule of upcoming free community COVID-19 testing events taking place over the next several weeks at various dates and times in multiple counties across the state.

The effort is part of a plan to provide free optional testing to all residents in several counties that are experiencing higher rates of COVID-19 transmission. It targets residents who have struggled to be seen by a physician or do not have insurance to pay for testing. However, other residents, including those who are asymptomatic are welcome to be tested.

Testing details listed below in chronological order:

Brooke County
August 14 & 15

9:00 AM – 4:00 PM
Bethany College
Hummel Field House: 6268 Main Street, Bethany, WV

Lewis County
August 14
9:00 AM – 5:00 PM
August 15
9:00 AM – 3:00 PM
Lewis County High School: 205 Minute Man Drive, Weston, WV

Lincoln County
August 19
10:00 AM – 3:00 PM
Harts PK-8: 1246 McClellan Highway, Harts, WV 
August 26
10:00 AM – 3:00 PM
Alum Creek Church of Christ: 2368 Childress Road, Alum Creek, WV 

Boone County
August 25
10:00 AM – 6:00 PM
Madison Civic Center: 261 Washington Avenue, Madison, WV

Webster County
August 29

9:00 AM – 5:00 PM 
Webster County High School: 1 Highlander Drive, Cowen, WV 

Nicholas County
September 17

12:00 PM – 8:00 PM 
Nazarene Camp: 6461 Webster Road, Summersville, WV 

 

 

 

 

SMALL BUSINESS GRANTS: $7.9 MILLION HAS 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 2,000 applications have been submitted, with more than $7.9 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.

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: $74.7 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 $74.7 million has now been awarded all across the state.

A new web portal is now available for city and county government officials to apply for this grant funding, at grants.wv.gov. 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 COVID-19 transparency web portal provided by West Virginia State Auditor’s Office.

 

 

 

 

WEST VIRGINIA STRONG SUMMER FOOD ASSISTANCE MAP
Also, Gov. Justice reminded West Virginians that an interactive free-feeding location map, designed to help connect citizens in need to food resources across the state, is available online.

Click here to view the map

More than 696 free-feeding locations have now been made available through a multi-agency effort between the West Virginia National Guard, the West Virginia Department of Education, the West Virginia Bureau of Senior Services, the West Virginia Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster (WV VOAD), and the United Way.

If food distribution locations aren't available in some communities, individuals are encouraged to call 211 for further assistance.

 

 

 

 

WEST VIRGINIANS URGED TO PARTICIPATE IN CENSUS
Once more today, Gov. Justice asked all West Virginians to participate in the 2020 United States Census.

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.

 

 

 

 

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.

 



Contact Information

Jordan Damron, jordan.l.damron@wv.gov

Contact

Office of the Governor
State Capitol, 1900 Kanawha Blvd. E
Charleston, WV 25305

Office Phone:
304.558.2000 or 1.888.438.2731

Governor's Mansion:
304.558.3588

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