COVID-19 UPDATE: Gov. Justice, Vice President Mike Pence hold joint briefing on West Virginia COVID-19 response

8/15/2020

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WHITE SULPHUR SPRINGS, WV – Gov. Jim Justice today joined Vice President Mike Pence, along with several other national and state leaders, for a briefing to discuss efforts being made in West Virginia to combat the spread of COVID-19 and safely reopen the state.


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“Thank you for your leadership during this extraordinarily challenging time,” Vice President Pence said to Gov. Justice. “I truly do believe, Governor, that because of your leadership and because of this team you have assembled and because of the cooperation of the people of West Virginia, you have saved lives in this state.”

“We all know it’s been a struggle, but we could have never, ever gotten out of the gate if it hadn’t been for this man right here, his team,” Gov. Justice said to Vice President Pence. “How they have pivoted and how they have adjusted to something that came like a wave beyond belief is incredible.”

Vice President Pence serves as the leader of the White House Coronavirus Task Force.

“I can’t fathom what this battle would have been like if we hadn’t had our President and our Vice President and all of his great people with us,” Gov. Justice added.

“The President wanted me to be here with a very special message to you,” Vice President Pence said. “We are with you. We are going to stay with you until the day comes we can put this coronavirus in the past once and for all.”

Vice President Pence and Gov. Justice were joined for the briefing by U.S. Senator Shelley Moore Capito, Congresswoman Carol Miller, Congressman Alex Mooney, United States Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue, United States Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services Administrator Seema Verma, West Virginia Coronavirus Czar Dr. Clay Marsh, and West Virginia National Guard Adjutant General Maj. Gen. James Hoyer.

“We are truly grateful for the leadership that you have shown, your team has shown, your delegation to Washington, D.C., has shown,” Vice President Pence said. “Very soon, West Virginia will be going back to school and we’re absolutely determined to partner with you until we bring West Virginia all the way back.”

 

JUSTICE ADMINISTRATION COVID-19 RESPONSE HIGHLIGHTS:

  • Under Gov. Justice’s direction, 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. West Virginia was also the final state in the country without any positive cases of COVID-19.

 

  • West Virginia’s statewide rate of COVID-19 transmission – also known as Rt – is currently tied for the 8th-best such rate in the country. If a given state’s Rt value is above 1.0, it means the virus will spread quickly, while values under 1.0 mean infections are slowing. West Virginia’s Rt has remained under 1.0 every day since July 6, 2020; the same day that the Governor instituted his Statewide Indoor Face Covering Requirement.

 

  • At Gov. Justice’s direction, West Virginia was the first state in the nation to order the full testing of all nursing home and assisted living facility residents and staff. Several weeks later, 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 by focusing their COVID-19 testing efforts on nursing homes and other vulnerable communities.

 

 

  • Under Gov. Justice’s leadership, hundreds of millions of dollars have been distributed to small businesses, local city and county governments, the state’s unemployment fund, and more through federal funding provided by the CARES Act. A recent report by the U.S. Treasury Department ranked West Virginia as the 4th-best state in the nation when it comes to the rate at which CARES Act funding is being used. According to the report, West Virginia also ranks 1st in both total funding used and funding usage rate among all 21 states across the country that received the base CARES Act amount of $1.25 billion from Congress.

 

 



CLICK HERE to view a full timeline of all of Gov. Justice’s actions and executive orders since the beginning of the pandemic.

 

ADDITIONAL REMARKS:
“Nursing homes have been a critical area that we’ve been focused on from day one. The President and the Vice President have said we have always known that the nursing homes are the most vulnerable,” Administrator Verma said to Gov. Justice. “You’ve been one of the first states to do the testing in each of the nursing homes, which is absolutely critical. You’ve been a model for a lot of other states and we hope to share some of your best practices with the rest of the country.”

“I think it’s just phenomenal what you’ve done here,” Secretary Perdue said to Gov. Justice. “Leadership does matter.

“I think it’s a testament to, not only to your leadership, but to the people of West Virginia to follow that and see the results,” Secretary Perdue continued. “I’m happy to be here to see the details.”

“The Governor and his team, General Hoyer, Dr. Marsh, and many others, have done a great job for the state, figuring out how to act, what to do, and how to best protect,” Senator Capito said. “Once we saw our numbers become manageable, success breeds success, and we found out that what we were doing was really beginning to work.”

“Your team has been incredible. What you’ve done since January has been wonderful,” Congresswoman Miller told the Vice President, adding: “We are team players in West Virginia. West Virginians do work together.

“I think the brilliance of what the Governor has done with the new system that he’s doing with implementing our schools, is you’re giving the schools and the students responsibility,” Congresswoman Miller continued. “You’re letting them know that their behavior is very important.”

“I thank you, Mr. Vice President, for coming to West Virginia again. Your administration has shown West Virginia more attention and support than, I think, any previous administration,” Congressman Mooney said, adding: “Our Governor has come up with a system that works for West Virginia. I appreciate that we have a Governor that we can talk to.”

Gov. Justice wrapped up the briefing with final remarks.

“West Virginia has been a model in a lot of ways,” Gov. Justice said. “We’ve done the right things here. We have stayed together. I could never be more proud of what the people of West Virginia have done. But we could never have done this without the Trump team and all the work everybody has done.

“We’re going to win this battle,” Gov. Justice continued. “We’re going to get across this finish line.”


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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Banner Images Courtesy of the West Virginia Department of Commerce

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