COVID-19 UPDATE: Gov. Justice provides reminder that updated face covering requirement is now in effect; celebrates progress on another vaccine

11/16/2020

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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.
UPDATED FACE COVERING REQUIREMENT IN EFFECT; SIGNS AVAILABLE FOR BUSINESSES
During Monday’s briefing, Gov. Justice provided a reminder that his broadened Statewide Indoor Face Covering Requirement officially went into effect over the weekend.

“West Virginia, I know you’re tired of this virus. So am I. And I know you don’t want to wear a mask. Neither do I. But we’ve absolutely reached a time where we all have to step up and do something, because this killer is stronger than ever,” Gov. Justice said. “Right now, we need to some way try to break the chain of this killer that’s eating us alive. That’s all we ought to be concentrating on, but I really need your help.”

“Every single day, we are now losing over 1,000 people across America. We can’t afford to sit on the sidelines with a mentality like, ‘I didn’t believe we landed on the moon and I’m not gonna believe this is real either,’” Gov. Justice said. “You can choose to believe what you want. But, really and truly, I cannot legislate for the exception, I have to govern for the masses.”

The new order requires all West Virginians age 9 and older to wear a face covering at all times inside all indoor public places. This differs from the Governor’s initial indoor face covering requirement, which allowed masks to be removed in such places if adequate social distancing could be maintained. Under the new order, that exception no longer exists.

The new order also requires that all businesses and organizations that invite the public into their facilities must post adequate signage advising guests of the requirement and are also responsible for enforcing the requirement to ensure it is being followed.

As a result, Gov. Justice announced Monday that posters are now available on the DHHR’s online Face Covering Toolkit for businesses or organizations to print and display. Social media graphics are also available for download and use by the general public.
The requirement does not apply to anyone who has trouble breathing or anyone who is otherwise unable to remove their own face covering without assistance. It also does not apply to anyone inside a restaurant and actively consuming food or beverages, anyone is inside a closed room by themselves, or inside one’s residence.

For children ages 2 years old through 8 years old, face coverings are not required. However, it is recommended that parents or guardians use their best judgment as to when to assist their children, ages 2 through 8, with wearing a face covering.

Under Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidance, children younger than 2 years old, anyone who has trouble breathing, and anyone who is unconscious, incapacitated, or otherwise unable to remove the face covering without assistance should not wear face coverings and are exempt from the face covering requirement.

Face shields are an acceptable substitute for those with physical conditions that may cause them to be unable to properly wear a face covering.

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GOVERNOR CELEBRATES REPORTED SUCCESS OF ANOTHER POTENTIAL COVID-19 VACCINE
Also on Monday, Gov. Justice took time to celebrate early reports on another COVID-19 vaccine, currently being developed by biotech company Moderna, which indicate that the vaccine appears to be 94.5% effective, according to preliminary data from their ongoing study.

The Trump Administration, un­der the Op­er­a­tion Warp Speed ini­tia­tive, has com­mit­ted $2.5 bil­lion to Mod­erna to sup­port its vac­cine re­search and test­ing and to buy at least 100 mil­lion doses of the vac­cine.

A week ago, Gov. Justice celebrated after Pfizer Inc. announced its own COVID-19 vaccine proved to be more than 90% effective.

“These numbers are terrific and they put both companies on track to seek permission, within weeks, for emergency use in the United States,” Gov. Justice said.
COVID-19 CASE NUMBERS UPDATE
Additionally Monday, Gov. Justice reported that the current number of active cases in the state has also reached a new record high of 10,377, including 5,757 new positive cases in the just the past seven days and 801 in the past 24 hours. A record high of 383 people are currently hospitalized and a record high of 108 patients are currently in the ICU.

Meanwhile, the cumulative percent of positive cases is now 3.27%, up from 3.14% on Friday and the highest such rate seen in West Virginia since April 24, 2020.

As of Monday afternoon, the statewide rate of COVID-19 transmission – also known as Rt – was 1.15; tied for the 23rd-best such rate of any state in the country. Only one state across America currently has a Rt values under the 1.00 threshold indicating whether the disease is spreading or contracting.

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

Click here to view the latest COVID-19 data
MONDAY MAP UPDATE
Also on Monday, Gov. Justice provided a look at West Virginia’s latest mid-week County Alert System map update.

Red counties: 4 (Barbour, Jackson, Marshall, Mineral)
Orange counties: 16 (Berkeley, Boone, Brooke, Hardy, Jefferson, Lincoln, Mason, Mingo, Morgan, Nicholas, Ohio, Putnam, Randolph, Wayne, Wood, Wyoming)
Gold counties: 8 (Cabell, Fayette, Hancock, Kanawha, McDowell, Pleasants, Tyler, Wetzel)
Yellow counties: 17 (Clay, Grant, Greenbrier, Hampshire, Harrison, Lewis, Logan, Marion, Mercer, Monongalia, Monroe, Preston, Raleigh, Ritchie, Taylor, Upshur, Wirt)
Green counties: 10 (Braxton, Calhoun, Doddridge, Gilmer, Pendleton, Pocahontas, Roane, Summers, Tucker, Webster)

The map is updated live on the DHHR’s COVID-19 Dashboard (Click "County Alert System" tab) throughout the week for informational purposes and to provide an indication of how each county is trending ahead of each Saturday at 5 p.m.; the time when each county is assigned its official color designation for the next week, which determines the level of scholastic, athletic, and extracurricular activities permitted in each county for that particular week.
DHHR’s COVID-19 Dashboard (Click "County Alert System" tab)
AGGRESSIVE TESTING CONTINUES ACROSS STATE
Additionally Monday, Gov. Justice provided an overview of the 47 counties that have upcoming free testing events scheduled for the near future through the Governor’s Aggressive Testing initiative.

This testing is available to all residents, 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.

Each county reaching Red or Orange status in the DHHR's County Alert System map (Click "County Alert System" tab) is required to set up at least one free testing site within the same day. Each county reaching Gold status is required to set up at least one free testing site within 48 hours.

Click here to view all locations, dates, times, and more details
Gov. Justice also offered a reminder that, as part of his administration’s efforts to expand free COVID-19 testing throughout West Virginia, the State is now partnering with Walgreens and West Virginia-based company Fruth Pharmacy to offer dozens of new free testing sites at several of their pharmacy drive-thrus.

Walgreens is now offering free testing at 54 locations statewide, including several new testing sites. Locations include stores in Berkeley, Boone, Brooke, Cabell, Clay, Fayette, Gilmer, Greenbrier, Hampshire, Hancock, Harrison, Jackson, Jefferson, Kanawha, Lincoln, Logan, Marion, McDowell, Mercer, Monongalia, Nicholas, Pocahontas, Preston, Putnam, Raleigh, Randolph, Summers, Taylor, Upshur, Wayne, Wetzel, Wood, and Wyoming counties.

Fruth Pharmacy is also offering free testing at 12 of their locations statewide, including stores in Cabell, Jackson, Kanawha, Mason, Putnam, Roane, and Wood counties.

Pre-registration is required for pharmacy drive-thru testing.

Click here to find the testing location closest to you
OUTBREAK REPORT
Also on Monday, Gov. Justice announced that the full testing of Stevens Correctional Center in McDowell County has resulted in the identification of 254 active inmate cases and 28 active staff cases to date after a recent outbreak was discovered at the facility. The facility remains on lockdown and is following the West Virginia Division of Corrections and Rehabilitation (DCR) response plan for COVID-19.

Outside of the outbreak at Stevens Correctional Center, there are now seven active inmate cases and 24 active staff cases across the DCR system.

Click here to view the latest corrections facility update

West Virginia now has 20 active church-related outbreaks across 13 counties: Cabell, Fayette, Hardy, Jefferson, Kanawha, Mingo, Monroe, Preston, Raleigh, Taylor, Tyler, Wood, and Wyoming counties. These outbreaks account for a total of 280 cases.

There are now 82 outbreaks in long-term care facilities across the state, up from 78 on Friday.

The Governor also reported that, per the West Virginia Department of Education, there are 21 active outbreaks in public schools across the state. These outbreaks account for 118 confirmed cases.

Click here to view the WVDE’s Current Outbreaks in Schools chart
REVIEW OF LATEST DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION SATURDAY MAP UPDATE
Additionally, 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 the following week.

The results of the update on Saturday, Nov. 14, 2020, were as follows:

Red counties: 5 (Barbour, Jackson, Marshall, Mineral, Randolph)
Orange counties: 12 (Fayette, Hardy, Jefferson, Lincoln, Logan, Mingo, Ohio, Putnam, Tyler, Wayne, Wood, Wyoming)
Gold counties: 10 (Berkeley, Boone, Brooke, Cabell, Hancock, Kanawha, Mason, Morgan, Nicholas, Preston)
Yellow counties: 12 (Clay, Hampshire, Harrison, Lewis, McDowell, Mercer, Monroe, Pleasants, Raleigh, Ritchie, Upshur, Wetzel)
Green counties: 16 (Braxton, Calhoun, Doddridge, Gilmer, Grant, Greenbrier, Marion, Monongalia, Pendleton, Pocahontas, Roane, Summers, Taylor, Tucker, Webster, Wirt)

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.
CITIES/COUNTIES GRANT FUNDING: OVER $180 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 $180 million has now been awarded all across the state.

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.
GOVERNOR SIGNS EXECUTIVE ORDER
Additionally Monday, Gov. Justice issued Executive Order 81-20, declaring that Section 15 of Executive Order 7-20, providing for the suspension of “Deadlines for renewal and payment of annual fees for video lottery machines (W. Va. Code § 29-22B-1102),” is hereby terminated and without further effect, and that such temporarily suspended May 1, 2020 deadline for such annual fee shall be December 15, 2020.
FLU VACCINE REMINDER
Once again today, Gov. Justice took time out of his remarks on COVID-19 to remind and encourage all West Virginians to get their flu vaccine.

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

Locate a flu vaccine near you through the DHHR 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.

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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