COVID-19 UPDATE: Gov. Justice orders testing at all daycares, assisted living facilities, and residential care communities statewide

5/6/2020

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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.

DAYCARE, ASSISTED LIVING, RESIDENTIAL CARE TESTING
On Wednesday, Gov. Justice announced that he has issued an Executive Order, directing the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources and the West Virginia National Guard to test all daycare employees, as well as all residents and staff members at assisted living facilities and residential care communities throughout the state for COVID-19.

The Governor has directed that this effort begin immediately to provide more aggressive support to these communities.

“With our daycares, we’ve had several different staffs, as they’re trying to get back up and running, to voluntarily test themselves,” Gov. Justice said. “We’ve had four positives on staff that have come in from Kanawha County. And the thing is that none of these people had any symptoms.

“It is our hope, in every way, we can have all of our daycares up and open. We need them to take care of our children as our workers go back to work. But we absolutely cannot risk anything to our children or anything our children maybe could take back to their families.”

The Governor also stressed the importance of keeping the vulnerable populations at West Virginia’s assisted living facilities and residential care communities as safe as possible.

“We knew, as soon as we finished testing our nursing homes, we would go to mandatory testing of our assisted living facilities and our residential care communities,” Gov. Justice said. “We absolutely need to do everything in our power to keep our most vulnerable populations as safe as possible.

Last month, at the direction of Gov. Justice, West Virginia became the first state in the nation to require COVID-19 testing for all nursing home residents and staff statewide. In the time since, other states have begun to follow suit.

 

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GOV. JUSTICE ANNOUNCES TARGETED TESTING IN AFRICAN AMERICAN COMMUNITIES
Also today, Gov. Justice announced that he has directed targeted testing to begin in several African American communities in West Virginia.

This enhanced testing will be a main focus of the newly-established COVID-19 Advisory Commission on African American Disparities – a task force administered by the WV DHHR with the mission of investigating the effect of COVID-19 on African American communities across the state.

“We are looking at these communities and doing the prudent work that will enable us to ensure that we won’t have critical problems in those communities as well,” Gov. Justice said.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), while the effects of COVID-19 on the health of racial and ethnic minority groups is still emerging, current data suggest a disproportionate burden of illness and death among racial and ethnic minority groups.

State Health Officer Dr. Cathy Slemp and her staff at the West Virginia DHHR’s Bureau for Public Health have been compiling and analyzing data on the effect of COVID-19 in African American communities for the past several weeks. 

“Based upon that data, we’ve begun the process of establishing specific areas in the state where we will increase testing,” DHHR Secretary Bill Crouch said.

Sec. Crouch said that these increased testing efforts will initially be centered in Berkeley, Jefferson, Marion, Monongalia, and Raleigh counties. Additional counties or areas may be added in the future.

The DHHR plans to utilize the West Virginia National Guard’s mobile testing and drive-thru testing capabilities to enhance testing in these areas. Sec. Crouch added that some of these counties’ local health departments have already begun testing African American populations.

The Herbert Henderson Office of Minority Affairs, under Executive Director Jill Upson, will help the DHHR and the task force coordinate public outreach and testing efforts across the state.

“We look forward to working with the task force and the results of our efforts to address the needs of the African American population,” Sec Crouch said.

 

Week 2 of the Gov. Justice reopening plan – West Virginia Strong – The Comeback – is now underway and announcements regarding Week 3 reopenings have been made. The Governor's new “Safer At Home” order is also in effect.

UPDATE ON COVID-19 TESTING DATA
Today, Gov. Justice announced that the number of people who have recovered from COVID-19 in West Virginia has continued to increase, while the number of active cases has continued to decrease.

In addition, the Governor announced that the statewide cumulative rate of positive tests has continued to drop – with the day-to-day positive growth rate also dropping to 0.8 percent.

View the latest COVID-19 data at Coronavirus.wv.gov

“This is good stuff,” Gov. Justice said. “These numbers are only so low because of how good you’ve done and how prudent you’ve been as great West Virginians.

“Now, I want to tell you that the days ahead are not just going to be quiet seas and clear sailing,” Gov. Justice continued. “The days ahead are going to have bumps in them and we are absolutely going to try to stay on top of all the bumps we possibly can. But we’ve got to ask you to continue being smart.”

 

GOV. JUSTICE HONORS NURSES, SIGN LANGUAGE INTERPRETERS
Also today, Gov. Justice announced that he has signed a proclamation, officially declaring May 6, 2020 as Nurses Day in West Virginia in honor of the hard work, bravery, commitment, and caring hearts of all nurses displayed across the state and the nation during this pandemic.

“Do you have any idea what these great people have brought to us and the lives that they’ve saved and the dangers they’ve put themselves in?” Gov. Justice said. “Do you know how tough it is to come to work and know that you’re dealing with this killing virus every day? Can you imagine the bravery that it takes to be one of these nurses every day?

“So, as you see them, please appreciate them and please thank them. We’re signing this proclamation today and all it’s just one more level of gratitude for all the great work these heroes have done.”

The Governor also reminded the public that today is also National Interpreter Appreciation Day, announcing that he has also signed a proclamation, officially declaring May 6, 2020 as Interpreter Appreciation Day in West Virginia and taking time to thank the two sign language interpreters who have been a part of the Governor's daily media briefings throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.

“There’s just so many things that we’re very thankful for,” Gov. Justice said “We thank all of those who are helping us in every way.”

 

WEST VIRGINIA NATIONAL GUARD SUPPORTS DELIVERY OF MEALS TO 198 FAMILIES
During his remarks today, Maj. Gen. James Hoyer, adjutant general of the West Virginia National Guard, reported that WVNG personnel supported a Huntington food bank’s operation of a “mobile food bank” – delivering meals to 198 families across the region.

The WVNG announced that they, along with West Virginia Voluntary Organizations Active in Disasters (VOAD), Mountaineer Food Bank, Facing Hunger Food Bank, and the West Virginia Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management (WVDHSEM), have joined forces to establish a regional food distribution center in the Greater Kanawha Valley as the need for supplemental and emergency food services continues to grow across the Mountain State during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

The new distribution center, located at the WVNG Rock Branch facility in Poca, West Virginia, allows the multiple organizations to work together in a whole-of-government approach to provide additional food distribution capacity supporting the shared mission to assist West Virginia families and individuals that face food insecurity.

Click here to read more

 

WVNG CLOSING DAYCARE FACILITY, WILL COMMENCE SANITIZING OPERATIONS
The West Virginia National Guard closed the Child Development Center located at the Joint Forces Headquarters in Charleston today, following notification of a staff member who tested positive for COVID-19.

"Based on the Governor's initiative to test all daycare workers and staff and thanks to the partnership with Kanawha-Charleston Health Department for the testing that was done in Kanawha County, we identified an individual who tested positive for COVID-19 and we are taking the appropriate action," Maj. Gen. Hoyer said.

"The health and welfare of our service members and their families is our number one priority," Hoyer continued. "In conjunction with Kanawha-Charleston Health Department, we will conduct extensive research and provide information to our Guard families and employees as soon as we have it."

More information will be posted on the WVNG's news page as it becomes available

 

GOVERNOR PROVIDES UPDATE ON FEDERAL STIMULUS EFFORTS
Gov. Justice announced today that he continues to meet with State Revenue officials about how to use federal stimulus dollars in West Virginia.

The Governor said that, while he will abide by all necessary restrictions, he continues to believe that the federal government will decide to allow states like West Virginia to use the funding to backfill revenue shortfalls resulting from the pandemic.

“You’ve entrusted me to get you to here. Now you’re in an area with dollars, and this stimulus, and business aspects and everything else. And this truly is right in my wheelhouse,” Gov. Justice said. “We’re going to consult with the leadership on both sides of the aisle, we’re going to bring everyone under the tent, and we’re going to work toward a solution that is the very smartest and best solution we can.”

 

UNEMPLOYMENT PROCESSING UPDATE
Once again, Gov. Justice provided an update on WorkForce West Virginia’s progress processing the 170,000 unemployment claims that have been filed since March 1. The Governor said that, although about 15 percent of the claims are in need of special handling due to filing issues, he is personally calling for all necessary resources to be used to process the remaining claims as quickly as possible.

“We’re trying to put everyone in the world on this problem,” Gov. Justice said. “I have directed Scott Adkins to get these done as quickly as possible and, if he needs additional help, all he’s got to do is ask me for it, because I’ll put in place whatever help there needs to be to get this done.”

 

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

“I really need you to help me while there’s still time to help,” Gov. Justice said.

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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