COVID-19 UPDATE: Gov. Justice temporarily restricts nursing home visitation; extends closure of Monongalia County bars by seven days

8/12/2020

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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.

 

 

TEMPORARY NURSING HOME VISITATION RESTRICTION
After reporting during Wednesday’s briefing that 28 active outbreaks of COVID-19 have now been identified in nursing homes across the state, Gov. Justice announced that he has issued an executive order, temporarily prohibiting all visitation in all of West Virginia’s nursing home facilities, except in cases of compassionate care due to end-of-life or deteriorating physical and/or mental health.

“We have got to try, with all in us, to some way calm this down,” Gov. Justice said. “I know how much it means for your mom, dad, grandma, or granddad to be able to see you and for you to see them. But, at the same time, we cannot come in every other day and lose 12 people without trying everything we can to stop it.”

Since the Governor's most recent briefing on Monday, another 12 West Virginians passed away from COVID-19, with 11 of those individuals ranging from 71 to 89 years old.

The visitation stoppage will go into effect on Thursday, Aug. 13, 2020, at 12:01 a.m.

“I know it is absolutely just plain horrible for us to not be able to have visitation,” Gov. Justice said. “But I promise you this: we’re going to work like crazy to come up with a metric that we can go by so we can make decisions for each county and not have to close everything statewide.

“We will work as diligently as we can to have that out very, very quickly,” Gov. Justice continued. “Not something that’s going to be out in a month, something that’s going to be out in days – so we can have visitation in some nursing homes, even if we can’t have it in others.”

On March 12, Gov. Justice asked all nursing homes to ban visitation to their facilities. 

On April 17, Gov. Justice issued an executive order to test every nursing home resident and employee – making West Virginia the first state in the nation to order the full testing of its nursing homes. On June 2, Gov. Justice announced that the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) sent a letter to governors in all 50 states across America, calling on them to follow West Virginia’s lead and focus their COVID-19 testing efforts on nursing homes and other vulnerable communities.

On June 10, Gov. Justice and the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources unveiled a multi-phased plan to resume visitation at West Virginia’s nursing homes, with several limitations in place.

The Governor’s new visitation restriction announced Wednesday does not apply to assisted living facilities.

 

 

 

 

MON COUNTY BARS TO REMAIN CLOSED ANOTHER SEVEN DAYS
Also on Wednesday, Gov. Justice issued another executive order, extending the closure of all bars in Monongalia County for an additional seven days.

The new order extends the countywide bar closure until Thursday, Aug. 20, 2020, at 12:01 a.m.

“We’ve been in communication with our bar owners, landlords, medical experts, and restaurant owners, trying to determine how we can reopen our Monongalia County bars,” Gov. Justice said. “They have done much, much better with their numbers there and that’s good.

“Now, if we can come up with a protocol that truly works, from a standpoint of reopening those businesses, we will do so.”

Fall move-in week for West Virginia University students in Morgantown is scheduled to begin this Saturday, August 15 and continue through Saturday, August 22.

“WVU has recommended for us to keep the bars closed for another seven days,” Gov. Justice said. “So we’re going to keep them closed for seven more days and see where we stand.”

The countywide bar closure was originally established under Executive Order 52-20, first extended under Executive Order 55-20, and further extended under Executive Order 58-20.

The order keeps all Monongalia County bars closed for the on-premises consumption of food or drinks or occupancy by the general public. However, customers are still permitted to pick up food or drinks to be taken away.

The order maintains that patrons are allowed to be seated, for dining, at tables and bar tops within "bar areas" of restaurants, hotels, and other similar facilities, subject to the same limitations that are in place for restaurants.

 

 

 

 

CORRECTIONAL FACILITIES UPDATE
Additionally Wednesday, Gov. Justice announced that the West Virginia Division of Corrections and Rehabilitation will finish retesting all inmates at South Central Regional Jail in Kanawha County today.

The Governor reported that the jail now has 26 active cases among inmates and one active case among staff. The facility remains on lockdown to eliminate movement within the jail.

“This is another example of how, when there’s a problem, we run to the fire and proactively try to get it under control as best we can,” Gov. Justice said. “I want to thank the Division of Corrections, the DHHR, and all those that are involved, for continuing to run to the fire.”

 

 

 

 

HELP304: NEW EMOTIONAL STRENGTH HOTLINE
Also on Wednesday, Gov. Justice announced an all-new service, called HELP304, which is funded by FEMA and administered by the DHHR to help West Virginians deal with COVID-19-related stress.

“This is a hotline for those that are really struggling emotionally with the pandemic,” Gov. Justice said. “If you’re stressed and need someone, we want you to call and someone who’s there to help will answer.”

West Virginians can call or text 1-877-HELP-304 (1-877-435-7304) or chat online at www.HELP304.com to receive free help from trained crisis counselors who can listen to concerns, help sort out emotions, and provide connections to community resources.

“We know how difficult all of this is for lots and lots of people,” Gov. Justice said. “So if you're out there and you're struggling, please reach out.”

 

 

 

 

PRE-INSTALLATION WORK UNDERWAY AT KIDS CONNECT SITES
Additionally Wednesday, Gov. Justice announced that pre-installation work as part of his new Kids Connect program is now underway at sites across the state where new equipment is needed.

Last week, Gov. Justice announced that he had pledged $6 million for Kids Connect – a joint effort between the Governor’s Office of Technology, the WVDE, and the Higher Education Policy Commission to establish over 1,000 free wireless internet access points statewide, allowing all West Virginia students to have a safe and reliable way to access their assignments online.

“We're on schedule for all of the sites to be up and going by September 8th,” Gov. Justice said.

September 8 remains the tentative first day of school under the Governor’s plan to reopen all pre-kindergarten through 12th grade schools in West Virginia.

An interactive map of all 1,006 potential Kids Connect locations is available on the Department of Education’s website.

 

 

 

 

WEST VIRGINIA’S RATE OF SPREAD 7TH-LOWEST IN NATION
West Virginia’s statewide rate of COVID-19 transmission – also known as R
t – is now the 7th-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.

During Wednesday's briefing, the Governor added that West Virginia’s numbers remain considerably better than those of the surrounding states.

“States across the nation would give anything to have these numbers,” Gov. Justice said. “But we can’t be content when we’ve lost 153 great West Virginians. If we can prevent the 154th one, we need to try, with all in us, to do just that.”

 

 

 

 

ACTIVE CHURCH OUTBREAKS DOWN TO THREE COUNTIES
Additionally Wednesday, Gov. Justice announced that previous church-related outbreaks in Grant, Logan, and Mason counties are no longer considered active at this time.

Additional church-related outbreaks remain active in three counties across West Virginia, including Cabell, Taylor, and Wood counties.

These outbreaks account for about 38  total cases combined – down from 89 such cases on Wednesday.

 

 

 

 

NEW HOT/COLD TRUCKS FOR SENIOR MEAL DELIVERY PROGRAMS
Also on Wednesday, Gov. Justice offered a reminder that he presented a fleet of new hot & cold food trucks at an event in Boone County yesterday, that will allow more seniors across West Virginia to receive fresh meals in their homes through the State’s senior nutrition meal delivery programs: Meals on Wheels and Home-Delivered Meals.

A total of 16 new Ford F-150 trucks, which utilize hot and cold food storage systems, will be used by county aging programs across the state to bolster senior nutrition efforts and replace aging vehicles currently in use.

“Yesterday was a really special day for all of our great seniors, who have truly given so much to West Virginia, and it was a special day for me because I always say we need to step up to the plate and try to help our seniors where we can,” Gov. Justice said. “I want to thank West Virginia Bureau of Senior Services Commissioner Robert Roswall for all his work leading this important program.

“I also want to thank all of our local directors of county senior and community services,” Gov. Justice continued. “They are our boots on the ground, making sure our seniors are taken care of.”

The new fleet of food trucks will be used in Berkeley, Boone, Braxton, Brooke, Cabell, Grant, Hampshire, Hardy, Lewis, Marion, Mercer, Pocahontas, Roane, Tyler, and Wirt counties. However, Gov. Justice added that another round of vehicle additions will be announced in the coming weeks in support of senior nutrition programs all across West Virginia.

Click here to read more

 

 

 

 

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
Friday, August 14 & Saturday, August 15

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

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

Lincoln County
Wednesday, August 19
10:00 AM – 3:00 PM
Harts PK-8: 1246 McClellan Highway, Harts, WV 

Hancock County 
Friday, August 21
1:00 PM – 7:00 PM
Weir High School: 100 Red Rider Road, Weirton, WV 
Saturday, August 22
10:00 AM – 4:00 PM
Weir High School: 100 Red Rider Road, Weirton, WV 

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

Lincoln County
Wednesday, August 26
10:00 AM – 3:00 PM
Alum Creek Church of Christ: 2368 Childress Road, Alum Creek, WV 

Webster County
Saturday, August 29

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

Nicholas County
Thursday, September 17

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

 

 

 

 

SMALL BUSINESS GRANTS: $8.3 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 2,000 applications have been submitted, with more than $8.3 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: $75.6 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 $75.6 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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