COVID-19 UPDATE: Gov. Justice: West Virginia National Guard receives FEMA authorization to increase personnel on federal activation status

10/19/2020

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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.
WEST VIRGINIA NATIONAL GUARD / FEDERAL ACTIVATION STATUS
During Monday’s briefing, Gov. Justice announced that the West Virginia National Guard has received authorization from FEMA to increase the number of personnel on federal activation status to 400 in support of COVID-19 response operations.

The federal government will reimburse the state for 75 percent of the related costs for these personnel. Currently, there are 379 members of the WVNG on duty with additional service members available to provide assistance to the state when needed.

As part of their response to the COVID-19 pandemic in West Virginia, the WVNG has distributed over 19 million pieces of PPE across all 55 counties, performed over 48,430 COVID-19 tests, conducted 632 vehicle disinfections and 161 facility disinfections across 22 counties, trained 834 businesses, 111 long term care facilities or medical practices, and 4,838 civilians on COVID-19 prevention best practices, and produced 220,639 pieces of PPE to date.

“If there is a state with a better National Guard, I’d love to see it, because our guardsmen and women in West Virginia are champions beyond belief and they’ve done an incredible job,” Gov. Justice said. “All West Virginians should be so thankful and so grateful that we have them. We’re going to continue to use them and I know they won’t quit until this is over and neither will I.”
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AGGRESSIVE TESTING CONTINUES ACROSS STATE
Also on Monday, Gov. Justice offered a reminder that additional free testing events are scheduled in the upcoming weeks in 36 counties across West Virginia.

This testing is available to all residents in selected counties, 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
As part of the Governor’s Aggressive Testing initiative, testing locations will be added in every county that receives a color designation of Orange or Red on the DHHR County Alert System map (Click "County Alert System" tab)

Additionally, Gov. Justice provided a look at West Virginia’s latest mid-week County Alert System map update Monday:

Red counties: 1 (Wyoming)
Orange counties: 10 (Berkeley, Clay, Doddridge, Jackson, Mingo, Monroe, Morgan, Pendleton, Wayne, Wirt)
Gold counties: 8 (Boone, Braxton, Brooke, Jefferson, Randolph, Roane, Upshur, Webster)
Yellow counties: 10 (Cabell, Gilmer, Hancock, Kanawha, Lewis, Logan, Nicholas, Putnam, Ritchie, Wood)
Green counties: 26 (All others)
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 offering free testing at 29 locations statewide, including stores in Boone, Cabell, Fayette, Jackson, Kanawha, Lincoln, Logan, Monongalia, Nicholas, Pocahontas, Putnam, Raleigh, Summers, Wayne, and Wyoming counties.

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

Click here to find the testing location closest to you
COVID-19 CASE NUMBERS UPDATE
Additionally Monday, Gov. Justice reported that the number of active COVID-19 cases across the state is now 5,095, up from 4,915 last Friday. The cumulative percent of positive cases remained steady at 2.83 percent Monday.

“Our numbers continue to be the envy of the nation but, at the same time, we want them to be even better in West Virginia,” Gov. Justice said. “Our active cases have gone above 5,000. A big part of that is the simple fact that we continue to test more and more and that will pay great dividends as we go forward.”

Meanwhile, West Virginia’s statewide rate of COVID-19 transmission – also known as Rt –  increased to 1.03 Monday morning; still good enough for the 9th-best such rate of any state in the country.

“We want to be significantly under 1.00, but we’re still ninth best in the country” Gov. Justice said. “Why is that? All you’ve got to do is turn the TV on and look. This disease is running rampant across our country.

“While we’re ninth in the country, and that’s good, we should all realize that this dreaded killer is now ramped up across the United States and that includes West Virginia,” Gov. Justice said. “So we want to stay on our toes. West Virginians, please wear your mask and please listen to all the guidelines.”

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

Click here to view the latest COVID-19 data
OUTBREAK REPORT
Also on Monday, Gov. Justice reported that, across the Division of Corrections and Rehabilitation (DCR) system, there are now 12 active cases of COVID-19 among inmates: nine within Martinsburg Correctional Center in Berkeley County, one within Mount Olive Correctional Complex in Fayette County, one within McDowell County Correctional Center in McDowell County, and one within North Central Regional Jail in Doddridge County.

The Lorrie Yeager Jr. Juvenile Center in Wood County no longer has any known active cases at this time.

There are also 11 active cases among DCR employees across West Virginia.

Click here to view the latest corrections facility update

West Virginia now has active church-related outbreaks across 13 counties: Berkeley, Doddridge, Harrison, Logan, Mason, Mercer, Monroe, Nicholas, Putnam, Upshur, Wayne, Wetzel, and Wood counties.

Other recent church-related outbreaks in Fayette and Tucker counties are no longer considered active at this time.

The Governor reported there remain 43 outbreaks in long-term care facilities across the state.

Gov. Justice also reported that, per the West Virginia Department of Education, there are 19 active outbreaks in public schools across the state. These outbreaks account for 59 confirmed cases.

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

The results of the update on Saturday, Oct. 17, 2020, were as follows:

Red counties: 2 (Doddridge, Wyoming)
Orange counties: 6 (Berkeley, Mingo, Morgan, Randolph, Upshur, Wirt)
Gold counties: 5 (Gilmer, Jefferson, Marshall, Pendleton, Wood)
Yellow counties: 17 (Barbour, Boone, Braxton, Brooke, Clay, Jackson, Logan, Mercer, Mineral, Monroe, Nicholas, Putnam, Ritchie, Roane, Tyler, Wayne, Webster)
Green counties: 25 (All others)

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.
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 on the DHHR website.
CITIES/COUNTIES GRANT FUNDING: OVER $153 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 $153 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.
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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