COVID-19 UPDATE: Gov. Justice reports active church outbreaks in 7 counties; will hold meeting to discuss reopening plan for colleges and universities

7/20/2020

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.

ACTIVE CHURCH OUTBREAKS IN SEVEN COUNTIES
During Monday’s briefing, Gov. Justice announced that several new church-related outbreaks of COVID-19 have been identified at places of worship in Grant, Logan, and Wood counties.

Last week, the Governor announced that additional church-related outbreaks had already been identified in Boone, Kanawha, Raleigh, and Taylor counties.

Between all seven of these counties combined, these outbreaks account for about 75 total cases.

“We’ve absolutely got to stay on top of this with all in us,” Gov. Justice said. “Please know that the church setting is the ideal setting to spread this virus.”

The Governor urged all West Virginians in church settings to follow the State’s safety guidelines, including using every other pew, maintaining social distancing, and wearing face coverings.

“I know these things are really difficult to do,” Gov. Justice said. “But, for right now, they have to be done because, if we don’t, all we’re going to do is lose more people.

“We could very well lose a lot of our grandmothers and grandfathers – people who have so much wisdom to still continue to pass on – we absolutely don’t need to be losing these great West Virginians.”

 

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CASE NUMBERS UPDATE
Also on Monday, Gov. Justice announced that an additional 205 new positive cases were reported over the weekend statewide.

As of Monday morning, Monongalia County had 394 active cases; the highest case total for any county across West Virginia. Kanawha County had the second highest total with 171 active cases.

COLLEGES AND UNIVERSITIES REOPENING PLAN
Additionally Monday, Gov. Justice announced that he will hold a virtual meeting with all public and private college and university presidents on Tuesday to discuss reopening plans for the fall semester and how to ensure the safety of West Virginia’s students, teachers, and communities.

“All of us, myself included, want to see our kids back on campus and back to school,” Gov. Justice said. “One of the things that we have to do is to be sure that we test every student that is coming into West Virginia from out-of-state.

“Otherwise, I think we’re doing absolutely what has to be done,” Gov. Justice continued. “We’re watching what’s going on in our nation, we’re watching what’s going on in our state with our numbers, and we’re absolutely trying, with all in us, for our kids to get back in school.

“We’ve got to have our colleges and our universities running. We have to have them. We’re trying to continue the education process for our kids. We’re going to have some more dialogue and then we’ll pass along that information.”

 

$94 MILLION OF FEDERAL COVID-19 RELIEF FUNDING HAS GONE TO PRE-K-12 SCHOOLS
Gov. Justice reported Monday that the West Virginia Department of Education has now received $94 million of federal funding to use for COVID-19-related expenses at Pre-K-12 schools across the state.

“Our Superintendent of Schools Clayton Burch and our Department of Education are going to continue to do really, really great work with each and every county,” Gov. Justice said.


“They’ve got $94 million,” Gov. Justice continued. “And when they spend $94 million, if we need more money to help our kids, we’ll find a way to give them the money.” 


 

PENDLETON COUNTY NURSING HOME
Also on Monday, Gov. Justice announced that a positive case of COVID-19 was reported over the weekend at the Pendleton Manor Nursing Home in Pendleton County.

“When I got word of it, I immediately called the West Virginia National Guard to go there and test everyone,” Gov. Justice said. “They are there right now, testing everyone at that nursing home.

“That’s how we run to the fire,” Gov. Justice continued. “And that’s exactly what we want to do in these situations.”

 

SMALL BUSINESS GRANT APPLICATIONS
Also on Monday, Gov. Justice offered a reminder that applications are available for small businesses seeking to receive funding through the Governor’s West Virginia CARES Act Small Business Grant Program.

The initiative will provide $150 million of West Virginia’s CARES Act funding to qualifying businesses across the state. Any West Virginia-based small business, in existence on February 29, 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: $45.5 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 $45.5 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.

 

FREE COVID-19 TESTING: BROOKE AND LOGAN COUNTIES
Gov. Justice also announced that the next round of free community COVID-19 testing will take place this week at various dates and times in Brooke and Logan counties.

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 is scheduled as follows:

Brooke County
Date, time, and location to be determined

Logan County
Saturday, July 25

9:00 a.m. –  4:00 p.m.
Logan County Emergency Ambulance Authority, Station #30:
26 ½ Main Avenue, Logan, WV

 

WORKERS COMPENSATION RATE REDUCTION
The Governor also took time on Monday to announce that the National Council on Compensation Insurance, West Virginia’s rating and statistical agent, has filed a proposed workers’ compensation loss cost decrease of 8.3%, effective November 1, 2020.

This premium reduction results in a projected $16 million in savings to West Virginia employers.

“It’s good for our state’s businesses and so we’re really excited to announce this,” Gov. Justice said. “I want to thank our West Virginia Insurance Commissioner, Jim Dodrill, for his great work.”

Click here to read more

 

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 690 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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