COVID-19 UPDATE: Gov. Justice: Hospitals and hospital systems asked to update surge plans, potentially reducing certain elective procedures

11/30/2020

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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.
UPDATE ON HOSPITAL SURGE PLANS & ELECTIVE PROCEDURES
During Monday’s briefing, Gov. Justice and state health experts announced that they have asked all hospitals and hospital systems across the state to reevaluate the surge plans that they originally created several months ago as part of the Governor’s West Virginia Strong – The Comeback reopening initiative, updating them to account for the recent increase in COVID-19 case numbers across West Virginia and to consider temporarily reducing the number of elective medical procedures being performed.

“Our state health experts are genuinely concerned about the possibility of our hospitals becoming overrun if things get worse,” Gov. Justice said. “Every day that we have these briefings, we are asked where we stand on hospital beds and where we stand on capacity. We’ve been in talks with the West Virginia Hospital Association and many of the state’s hospitals and we all believe that some level of reduction of elective surgeries may be needed to ensure that we will have hospital space.”

“This is accelerating all across the country and we’re starting to see the first signs of that acceleration in West Virginia,” State Coronavirus Czar Dr. Clay Marsh said. “We are starting to see the first surge that we’ve seen in this state related to the hospitals...We will be able to maintain capacity at this moment, but what we see is perhaps the worst days are still ahead of us as everybody goes inside.

“This morning we had a call with the hospital association, our largest group of hospitals and hospital systems in the state, and what we agreed to was that, each system has their surge plans, and so we asked them to update those to where we are now – looking at surgeries that will be done over the next 45 days or so as the initial time frame – to look at not doing the kinds of surgeries that can be put off, or that aren’t urgent or emergent...and to look at prioritizing, particularly, putting off those surgeries that require an inpatient stay that would take up a hospital bed,” Dr. Marsh continued. “Each system will submit their plans for how they will do that through the hospital association, and we will then look at those plans to make sure we are all communicating and helping each other out.”


COVID-19 CASE NUMBERS UPDATE
Also on Monday, Gov. Justice reported that the current number of active cases in the state has also reached a new record high of 16,787. The number of total patients hospitalized also hit a record high of 597, with 162 patients currently in the ICU.

Meanwhile, the cumulative percent of positive cases is now 3.64%, up from 3.53% last Wednesday and the highest such rate seen in West Virginia since April 23, 2020.

As of Monday morning, the statewide rate of COVID-19 transmission – also known as Rt – was 1.00; tied for the 15th-best such rate of any state in the country.

Meanwhile, 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
Click here to view photo album​
MONDAY MAP UPDATE
Additionally Monday, Gov. Justice provided a look at West Virginia’s latest mid-week County Alert System map update.

Red counties: 8 (Grant, Marshall, Mason, Mineral, Ohio, Ritchie, Wirt, Wyoming)
Orange counties: 15 (Barbour, Berkeley, Boone, Doddridge, Hardy, Jefferson, Morgan, Nicholas, Pocahontas, Preston, Putnam, Taylor, Wayne, Wetzel, Wood)
Gold counties: 8 (Brooke, Cabell, Calhoun, Fayette, Hampshire, Hancock, Harrison, Mingo)
Yellow counties: 11 (Kanawha, Jackson, Lincoln, Marion, McDowell, Monroe, Pleasants, Raleigh, Roane, Tyler, Upshur)
Green counties: 13 (Braxton, Clay, Gilmer, Greenbrier, Lewis, Logan, Mercer, Monongalia, Pendleton, Randolph, 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)
GOV. JUSTICE PROVIDES ANOTHER UPDATE ON VACCINE PLAN
Also on Monday, Gov. Justice celebrated biotech company Moderna’s announcement today that they are now seeking emergency use authorization by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for their new COVID-19 vaccine.

This follows last week’s announcement that pharmaceutical company Pfizer applied for the same authorization and that their vaccine is expected to arrive in West Virginia in mid-December.

“Both vaccines require you to take two doses of it, with the doses coming three to four weeks apart,” Gov. Justice said. “There will be a limited supply in the beginning, but it will ramp up very, very quickly. There are approximately 40 million doses that will be going all across our country and it will be ramping up every day. I strongly encourage everyone, once it has authorization from the FDA and approval from the CDC, to take the vaccine.

“Our Vaccine Advisory Council has been working since August,” Gov. Justice continued. “General Hoyer is heading up the efforts. I think we’re going to be ready. I think you’re going to see them move like I know we can.”
UPDATED FACE COVERING REQUIREMENT IN EFFECT; SIGNS AVAILABLE FOR BUSINESSES
Additionally Monday, Gov. Justice provided a reminder that his broadened Statewide Indoor Face Covering Requirement is now in effect.

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.

Click here to read more details about the face covering requirement

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.
AGGRESSIVE TESTING CONTINUES ACROSS STATE
Also on Monday, Gov. Justice offered a reminder that a new online map of all free COVID-19 testing locations across West Virginia has been launched on the state’s COVID-19 website.

Users can filter the map by type of testing site, including daily testing events, recurring testing events, and pharmacy testing locations.

Each location is marked on the map with a pin. After finding a testing location nearby, users are able to click on the pin for more information about that particular testing site, including the specific location and timeframe during which testing will be held.

Click here to view interactive map of free COVID-19 testing sites
Across West Virginia, 51 counties have 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.

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.

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

Click here to find the testing location closest to you
OUTBREAK REPORT
Additionally Monday, Gov. Justice reported that there are now 140 active inmate cases across eight facilities within the West Virginia Division of Corrections and Rehabilitation (DCR) system, including 54 at the Denmar Correctional Center, 40 at the Northern Correctional Facility and regional jail, 22 at the Pruntytown Correctional Center, and 18 at the Parkersburg Correctional Center. The affected facilities have locked down to eliminate inmate movement, they have limited staff movement to deter contact spread, and they continue to quarantine and medically isolate inmates as appropriate.

There are also 57 active staff cases across the DCR system.

Click here to view the latest corrections facility update

Autopsy results have also confirmed a fourth COVID-19-related inmate death. A 54-year-old Mount Olive inmate, who had several underlying health conditions, died at an outside hospital on Sept. 17.

West Virginia now has 21 active church-related outbreaks across 15 counties: Berkeley, Cabell, Fayette, Harrison, Jackson, Kanawha, Logan, Marion, Mingo, Monroe, Raleigh, Taylor, Wayne, Wood, and Wyoming counties. These outbreaks account for a total of 347 cases, up from 302 last Wednesday.

There are now 111 outbreaks in long-term care facilities across the state, up from 101 such outbreaks as of last Wednesday.

The Governor also reported that, per the West Virginia Department of Education, there are 24 active outbreaks in public schools across the state. These outbreaks account for 106 confirmed cases.

Click here to view the WVDE’s Current Outbreaks in Schools chart
REVIEW OF LATEST DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION SATURDAY MAP UPDATE
Also on Monday, 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.

Results of the update on Saturday, Nov. 28, 2020, were updated on Monday, Nov. 30, 2020, to account for several counties turning Red. The latest School Alert System map designations are as follows: 

Red counties: 8 (Grant, Marshall, Mason, Mineral, Ohio, Ritchie, Wirt, Wyoming)
Orange counties: 14 (Berkeley, Boone, Brooke, Doddridge, Hampshire, Hardy, Harrison, Jefferson, Mingo, Pocahontas, Putnam, Taylor, Wayne, Wood)
Gold counties: 7 (Barbour, Cabell, Hancock, Morgan, Preston, *Upshur, Wetzel)
Yellow counties: 13 (Calhoun, Fayette, Greenbrier, Jackson, Kanawha, Lincoln, Marion, McDowell, Monroe, Nicholas, Pleasants, Raleigh, Tyler)
Green counties: 13 (Braxton, Clay, Gilmer, Lewis, Logan, Mercer, Monongalia, Pendleton, Randolph, Roane, Summers, Tucker, Webster)

(*=Upshur County decided to move to full remote learning and voluntarily enter into the Red designation, despite qualifying in the Gold category)

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.
WEST VIRGINIA BLACK BEARS SELECTED AS FOUNDING MEMBER OF MLB DRAFT LEAGUE
Additionally Monday, Gov. Justice took time out of his remarks on COVID-19 to celebrate today’s announcement that the West Virginia Black Bears have been selected as one of the five teams to be a founding member of the new “Major League Baseball Draft League.”

This new league will be sanctioned by MLB and operated by Prep Baseball Report, one of the country’s biggest and most respected amateur scouting services.

Each season, the Black Bears’ roster will be filled with draft-eligible collegiate players, projected as premium selections in that year’s MLB Draft, ensuring Black Bears fans will continue to enjoy high-quality baseball action to go along with the team’s popular fan-friendly, fun ballpark experience.

“I am truly excited to hear that the Black Bears will continue in Morgantown as a member of the Major League Baseball Draft League,” Gov. Justice said. “The Black Bears are an important part of the North Central West Virginia economy and their entire community.

“Ever since it was rumored that MLB was considering downsizing, I worked constantly to ensure our teams would continue playing in West Virginia and had multiple conversations with MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred and his staff,” Gov. Justice continued. “I am grateful to Major League Baseball for their commitment to our state, and their recognition of baseball’s importance to Almost Heaven, West Virginia.”
CITIES/COUNTIES GRANT FUNDING: OVER $193 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 $193 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.
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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