COVID-19 UPDATE: Gov. Justice provides opportunity for student-athletes in orange counties to play immediately by being tested

8/31/2020

 
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.

DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION RELEASES FIRST EVER SATURDAY 9 P.M. SCHOOL RE-ENTRY MAP UPDATE
During Monday’s briefing, Gov. Justice went over the results of the West Virginia Department of Education's first ever Saturday 9 p.m. school re-entry map update.

The WVDE's Saturday snapshot determines the level of athletic and extracurricular activities permitted in each county for that particular week.

Counties in green and yellow are permitted to hold competitions, counties in orange can hold practices but are not permitted to compete, and counties in red must halt all school-related activities immediately.

This past Saturday, Aug. 29, 2020, a total of 32 counties were green, while 19 counties were yellow.

Three counties were orange: Fayette, Kanawha, and Logan counties. Only one county, Monroe County, was red.

These designations will not change throughout this week unless a county enters red status, at which point all activities, including school, athletics, and other extracurriculars would immediately be halted.

STUDENT-ATHLETES IN ORANGE COUNTIES GIVEN OPPORTUNITY TO PLAY IF TESTED
In an effort to allow as many athletics programs as possible to be able to participate in competitions, Gov. Justice announced on Monday that he would provide an opportunity for student-athletes in orange counties – Fayette, Kanawha, and Logan counties – to play immediately by being tested.

“We’ve consulted with every health expert we have to try to come up with a plan that gets as many of our student-athletes on the field as possible while also keeping our communities safe,” Gov. Justice said. “So, in those counties, we’re going to offer for our student-athletes and our coaches the opportunity to be tested for free. And, if a full team would test negative, then they could play immediately, right alongside our green and yellow counties.”

The Governor added that the offer was only for the three counties designated as orange in this past Saturday’s map update and would only be available for this week. In addition to all athletics teams and coaches, school-affiliated marching bands and auxiliary groups would also be able to perform immediately by testing negative.

“This is the first week that a lot of these competitions begin, so we just need to make sure we are doing everything in our power to make sure our programs are starting on solid footing,” Gov. Justice said. “Also, by testing in these orange counties, we would be able to make our communities safer because it would give us more information about where this disease is currently located and spreading.”

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“TRIPLE-CHECK” FOR SAFETY AND SANITIZATION SUPPLIES IN SCHOOLS UNDERWAY
Also on Monday, State Superintendent of Schools Clayton Burch announced that West Virginia education leaders are in the process of “triple-checking” that every classroom in the state has the PPE and cleaning supplies they need to safely begin the school year.

“Our offices are reaching out to all of the principals just to triple-check that those supplies are there and ready,” Superintendent Burch said. “I cannot thank our principals, superintendents, and others enough, and I encourage each and every teacher, please, continue communicating to your principal and your school leadership if you need anything at all. We have a lot of folks here willing to help.”

MON COUNTY BARS PERMITTED TO REOPEN
Additionally Monday, Gov. Justice announced that the countywide bar closure in Monongalia County has been lifted.

“We've confirmed with the medical experts that our numbers are stable,” Gov. Justice said. “We're excited to be able to get these businesses back to work. However, we urge them to be cautious in every way.”

In order to reopen, such establishments must implement additional safety measures as described in the guidance document: Supplemental Protocols for Reopening Monongalia County Bars​.

“We’re going to be watching our numbers constantly,” Gov. Justice said. “If they start to move in the wrong direction, we’ll shut them back down, but we hope and pray that it does go well.”

DMV LICENSE EXTENSION
Also on Monday, Gov. Justice announced that the West Virginia Division of Motor Vehicles is offering a deadline extension on license expirations through the end of this year.

Any driver's license, instruction permit, Graduated License (level 1, 2, or 3), or Commercial Driver's License (CDL), as allowed by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), with an expiration date of March 1, 2020 or later, will be extended until December 31, 2020. Identification cards are included in the extension as well.

This announcement revises the July memorandum that extended the expiration date on the face of these documents until September 30, 2020.

Click here to read more

COVID-19 CASE NUMBERS UPDATE
Also on Monday, Gov. Justice reported that West Virginia’s statewide rate of COVID-19 transmission – also known as Rt – has increased to 1.00.

The Governor added that West Virginia's number of active cases has reached a new record high of 2,019. Still, West Virginia’s COVID-19 numbers have been among the best in the nation. West Virginia has outperformed the national average, as well as the rates of all of its bordering states, in percentage of population tested, percentage of population positive, percentage of positive test results, and case fatality rate.

Click here to view the latest COVID-19 data

CORRECTIONS FACILITIES UPDATE
Additionally Monday, Gov. Justice reported that the Division of Corrections and Rehabilitation is continuing enhanced testing efforts at Mount Olive Correctional Complex.

So far, there are 142 total positive cases among Mount Olive inmates and residents. However, 1,982 results have come back negative, with 36 results still pending. There are also 15 total positive cases among staff members. Mount Olive continues to quarantine and medically isolate inmates as necessary.

South Central Regional Jail has eight active cases among inmates. Western Regional Jail has one active case among inmates.

Click here to view the latest corrections facility update

UPDATE ON CHURCHES, LONG-TERM CARE FACILITIES
Also on Monday, Gov. Justice announced that church-related outbreaks remain active in three counties across West Virginia: Cabell, Monroe, and Wyoming counties.

Meanwhile, the Governor added that there are now 36 outbreaks in long-term care facilities across the state. The largest of these outbreaks are at Grant Rehab and Care Center in Grant County; Meadowbrook Acres, Cedar Ridge Center, and the Marmet Nursing Home in Kanawha County; Trinity Healthcare in Logan County; Princeton Healthcare Center in Mercer County; Springfield Center in Monroe County; Pine Lodge Nursing Home in Raleigh County; and Rosewood Nursing Home in Taylor County.

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 currently boasts the 2nd-best U.S. Census response rate in the country.

To date, 92.9 percent of West Virginians have been counted. For perspective, during the last Census in 2010, the state’s final response rate was just 74 percent.

West Virginians are able to complete the Census until Sept. 30, 2020.

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.

BROOKE COUNTY POWER PLANT UPDATE
Additionally Monday, Gov. Justice took time out of his briefing to announce that he has directed Commerce Secretary Ed Gaunch to instruct the West Virginia Economic Development Authority once again review the application for the proposed natural gas power plant in Brooke County.

GENERAL COUNSEL PROVIDES CLARIFICATION ON EXECUTIVE ORDERS, GUIDANCE DOCUMENTS
Also on Monday, Brian Abraham, General Counsel to the Governor, offered a reminder regarding the many executive orders and guidance documents that have been issued throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.

“All of the language in the executive order and the guidelines should be read together to understand the purpose and the effect of both,” Abraham said.

Click here to view all COVID-19 Actions and Executive Orders

Click here to view all COVID-19 guidance documents

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.

Counties with upcoming free testing events include:
  • Cabell County
  • Fayette County
  • Jackson County
  • Logan County
  • Morgan County
  • Nicholas County
  • Raleigh County
Click here to view dates and additional details

SMALL BUSINESS GRANTS: $10.6 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 2,900 applications have been submitted, with more than $10.6 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: $94.2 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 $94.2 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.

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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