COVID-19 UPDATE: Gov. Justice announces free in-home COVID-19 testing now available for all West Virginians

12/2/2020

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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.
FREE IN-HOME COVID-19 TESTING NOW AVAILABLE
During Wednesday’s briefing, Gov. Justice announced that free in-home COVID-19 testing is now available for all West Virginians.

“We have partnered with Vault Health to bring this convenient test that is mailed directly to your home,” Gov. Justice said. “These saliva-based test kits are available to West Virginia residents at no cost.”

Any fees will be waived once a West Virginia address is entered on the Vault Health website.
These in-home testing kits are available in addition to free testing sites, with events in 50 counties scheduled for the near future through the Governor’s Aggressive Testing initiative.

​(*UPDATE: DHHR Secretary Bill Crouch announced on Dec. 11, 2020, that this program has been discontinued*)

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.

An interactive online map of all free testing locations across West Virginia is available. 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 all locations, dates, times, and more details
RECENT COVID-19 STATISTICS
Also on Wednesday, Gov. Justice provided a detailed data overview of the recent surge of cases being seen in West Virginia, particularly over the past month.

The Governor reported that the number of COVID-19 cases in West Virginia has increased 91% from Oct. 31 to Nov. 30, 2020. Nearly half (49%) of West Virginia’s total cases during the COVID-19 pandemic have occurred in the past 30 days.

From October to November, West Virginia saw an increase of 73% in reports of deaths associated with COVID-19, with 50% of all reported deaths in West Virginia associated with COVID-19 occurring in the past eight weeks. Meanwhile, 47% of West Virginia's deaths have occurred in a long-term care facility or assisted living facility.

West Virginia currently ranks 10th in the nation for testing, averaging 13,376 tests per day over the past week, for a total of more than 93,000 tests.

As for current daily case data, Gov. Justice reported that the current number of active cases in the state has also reached a new record high of 17,125. The number of total patients hospitalized also hit a record high of 622, with 164 patients currently in the ICU.

The cumulative percent of positive cases is now 3.69%, up from 3.64% on Monday and the highest such rate seen in West Virginia since April 23, 2020.

As of Wednesday morning, the statewide rate of COVID-19 transmission – also known as Rt – was 1.06; the 29th-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

Gov. Justice also provided a reminder that, with the first phase of vaccine distribution now expected to begin within two weeks, this is a critical time for residents to redouble efforts to stay safe, especially those who may be especially vulnerable.

“It is proven over and over that the overwhelming number of people who are dying are in excess of 65 years of age,” Gov. Justice said. “I absolutely ask you, in every way, for the next few weeks, please try, with all in you, to not get around others and to wear a mask at all times around others. Please try to get people to get your groceries, medications, or whatever, for you, or get them delivered, whatever you have to do, for the next few weeks.”
Click here to view photo album​
GOVERNOR PREVIEWS ADDITIONAL VACCINE INFORMATION EXPECTED FRIDAY
Additionally Wednesday, Gov. Justice announced that he intends to provide additional information on Friday, regarding the initial allocation of COVID-19 vaccine doses in West Virginia.

The first doses of vaccine are still expected to arrive in West Virginia by the second week of December.

Both vaccines require the recipient to take two doses, with the second dose approximately three to four weeks after the first dose.

In previous briefings, Gov. Justice has announced that, due to the limited supply expected at first, the vaccine will be distributed in phases, beginning with the Phase 1 group: healthcare workers who are at very high risk for contracting COVID-19. The distribution, which is being managed by the West Virginia National Guard, is expected to ramp up very quickly.
WEST VIRGINIANS CALLED UPON TO DONATE BLOOD AND PLASMA
Additionally Wednesday, Gov. Justice announced that after his recent call with the White House Coronavirus Task Force, Vice President Mike Pence said that, all across the nation, there is still a shortage of plasma and blood.

“They urged me, and all the other governors on the call, to urge our citizens to go out and give blood, especially if you have recovered from COVID,” Gov. Justice said.

Those fully recovered from a verified COVID-19 diagnosis may have plasma in their blood containing COVID-19 antibodies that can attack this virus. This plasa is being evaluated as a possible treatment for currently ill COVID-19 patients.

“I encourage all 32,000 West Virginians who have recovered from COVID-19 and who meet the requirements to consider donating their plasma to this important effort,” Gov. Justice said.

For more information, visit redcross.org or call the local American Red Cross offices at 304-340-3650.
WEDNESDAY MAP UPDATE
Additionally Wednesday, 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, Wayne, Wirt, Wyoming)
Orange counties: 19 (Barbour, Berkeley, Boone, Brooke, Cabell, Doddridge, Hampshire, Hancock, Hardy, Harrison, Jefferson, Morgan, Nicholas, Pocahontas, Preston, Putnam, Ritchie, Wetzel, Wood)
Gold counties: 5 (Calhoun, Fayette, Kanawha, Taylor, Tyler)
Yellow counties: 10 (Jackson, Lincoln, Logan, Marion, Mingo, Monroe, Pleasants, Raleigh, Roane, Upshur)
Green counties: 13 (Braxton, Clay, Gilmer, Greenbrier, Lewis, McDowell, 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)
OUTBREAK REPORT
Also on Wednesday, Gov. Justice reported that, per the West Virginia Department of Education, there are 25 active outbreaks in public schools across the state. These outbreaks account for 107 confirmed cases, up from 106 on Monday.

Click here to view the WVDE’s Current Outbreaks in Schools chart

West Virginia now has 17 active church-related outbreaks across 13 counties: Berkeley, Cabell, Fayette, Harrison, Jackson, Kanawha, Marion, Mingo, Raleigh, Taylor, Wayne, Wood, and Wyoming counties. These outbreaks account for a total of 268 cases, down from 347 on Monday.

There are now 110 outbreaks in long-term care facilities across the state, down from 111 such outbreaks as of Monday.

The Governor also reported that the West Virginia Division of Corrections and Rehabilitation (DCR) is seeing case numbers decreasing across several of their facilities. The Pruntytown Correctional Center is down to five active inmate cases after having 23 on Monday. The Parkersburg Correctional Center is down to four active inmate cases after having 16 on Monday. There are now 57 cases at the Denmar Correctional Center, as well as 43 cases at the Northern Correctional Facility and neighboring regional jail; these facilities have seen slight reductions since Monday.

In total, there are now 113 active inmate cases, down from 140 on Monday. There are now 63 active staff cases across the DCR system, up from 57 on Monday.

Click here to view the latest corrections facility update
NOVEMBER REVENUE UPDATE
Also on Wednesday, Gov. Justice took time to offer a reminder of his announcement yesterday that West Virginia’s general revenue collections for the month of November came in at $20.1 million above estimates and 6.1% above prior year receipts, closing the books on yet another positive financial month, despite the effects that the COVID-19 pandemic has had on the state’s economy.

West Virginia has now banked surpluses in each of the first five months of Fiscal Year 2021. Gov. Justice reported that year-to-date general revenue collections are $131.7 million above estimates and 9.1% above prior year receipts.

“All West Virginians should be incredibly proud of what we’re accomplishing, especially when you think about everything else that’s going on in this nation right now,” Gov. Justice said. “The pandemic, no question, has been a punch to the stomach. But we kept our economy moving and we’ve stayed on this great roll we’ve been on.

“When it boils right down to it, putting together five straight months of growth in any year is pretty dadgum tough,” Gov. Justice continued. “But to do it this year is especially incredible.”

Click here to read more
CITIES/COUNTIES GRANT FUNDING: OVER $195 MILLION HAS NOW BEEN AWARDED
Additionally Wednesday, Gov. Justice provided an update on cities and counties throughout West Virginia applying for funds through the federal CARES Act, reporting that more than $195 million has now been awarded all across the state.

Gov. Justice also announced today that the total amount of CARES Act funding allocated for these grants has been adjusted from $200 million to $225 million to ensure that all applicants between now and the Dec. 15, 2020, deadline are able to receive all necessary grant funds.

“We’ll continue to follow all the federal guidelines to make sure we’re doing everything by the book to get those monies out,” Gov. Justice said. “I know they’ve been a lifeline for so many. We’ll get them out just as quick as you can apply.”

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.
UPDATED FACE COVERING REQUIREMENT IN EFFECT; SIGNS AVAILABLE FOR BUSINESSES
Also on Wednesday, Gov. Justice provided a reminder that his broadened Statewide Indoor Face Covering Requirement remains in effect.

The order requires all West Virginians age 9 and older to wear a face covering at all times inside all indoor public places, regardless of whether or not they are able to maintain proper social distance. The order 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 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.
FLU VACCINE REMINDER
Additionally Wednesday, 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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