COVID-19 UPDATE: Gov. Justice announces nursing home visitation, graduation ceremonies to be allowed with limitations

6/10/2020

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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.

NURSING HOME VISITATION PLAN ANNOUNCED
On Wednesday, Gov. Justice and the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources unveiled a multi-phased plan to resume visitation at West Virginia’s nursing homes, with limitations, beginning as early as next Wednesday, June 17.

If, on June 17, a nursing home has had no active COVID-19 cases for at least the past 14 consecutive days, visitation will be permitted to resume, with certain restrictions in place.

Gov. Justice announced that, under the plan, appointments will be required to visit any nursing home. 

Additional visitation rules will be determined on a facility-by-facility basis, but may include restrictions to the number of visitors permitted at once, age restrictions, time limits, contact limitations, and more.

“We know the people in our nursing homes are the most vulnerable of all,” Gov. Justice said. “So we’ve got to have a plan that phases-in visitation, while doing so as fast as safely possible.”

On March 12, Gov. Justice asked for all nursing homes to ban visitation to their facilities. On April 17, Gov. Justice issued an executive order to test every nursing home resident and employee – making West Virginia the first state in the nation to order the full testing of its nursing homes.

“In trying to protect the people in our nursing homes, we had to do what we did,” Gov. Justice said. “But, if you take a step back and think about it, if it were your mom or your dad, or your grandchildren that you just want to see, this has been horrendously difficult and horrendously sad for those families.

“We want to get you back together as safely as we possibly can, while also continuing to protect all those within the nursing home system.”

 

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GRADUATION CEREMONY GUIDELINES RELEASED
Also on Wednesday, Gov. Justice announced that the West Virginia Board of Education and State Superintendent of Schools Clayton Burch have released guidelines for counties to use to start holding in-person graduation ceremonies beginning as early as Monday, June 22.

“This is something I wanted to see in the worst way because this is such an important moment for these children – an accomplishment beyond belief and we want to be able to stand and applaud and recognize them for all their hard work,” Gov. Justice said. “I salute everybody for all the hard work that’s been done behind-the-scenes to make this happen.”

The guidelines require that all in-person graduations must be held at outdoor venues and that events must be structured to allow for adequate social distancing and for other safety measures to be properly followed.

Six feet of social distancing is required at all times and face masks or coverings are strongly encouraged. Several additional safety precautions are also required.

 

ALL OUTDOOR, OPEN-AIR CONCERTS ALLOWED TO RESUME JULY 1
Additionally Wednesday, Gov. Justice announced that all outdoor, open-air concerts will now be permitted to resume on Wednesday, July 1, provided that strict safety guidelines are being properly followed.

The reopening of all outdoor, open-air concerts pertains to traditional concert venues, as well as bars or restaurants with outdoor performance areas, so long as they allow for patrons to have enough space to properly follow the appropriate safety guidelines.

“I am well aware of how difficult it is to run a business with one hand tied behind your back as far as being able to be successful and making the economics work,” Gov. Justice said. “We’ve got a lot of great people who are working hard and we are trying to help them in every way we can.”

On Monday, Gov. Justice announced that outdoor, open-air concerts, specifically at fairs and festivals, would be allowed to resume to coincide with the reopening of fairs and festivals themselves on July 1.

JUNE 10 REOPENINGS NOW UNDERWAY
Also today, Gov. Justice reminded West Virignians that another round of reopenings officially went into effect as part of the Governor’s plan to restart the state’s economy.

As of today, private campgrounds as well as state park campgrounds, cabins, and lodges are now permitted to reopen to out-of-state guests, provided that their stays do not exceed seven days. 

The seven-day restriction does not apply to individuals who maintain a semi-permanent or permanent resident at such campgrounds.

SAFETY GUIDANCE FOR REOPENING OF SUMMER YOUTH CAMPS NOW AVAILABLE
Additionally on Wednesday, Gov. Justice announced that safety guidelines for the upcoming reopening of summer youth camps have now been posted on the Governor's website.

On Monday, Gov. Justice announced that both day camps and overnight camps will be permitted to reopen on Monday, June 22.

NEW WHITEWATER RAFTING GUIDANCE NOW IN EFFECT
Also, Gov. Justice offered a reminder that new safety guidelines for whitewater rafting businesses officially went into effect today.

Under the new guidelines, whitewater rafting groups are now allowed to have up to eight guests and one guide per raft.

 

WEST VIRGINIA STRONG – THE COMEBACK  |  SAFER AT HOME ORDER
Week 7 of the Gov. Justice reopening plan – West Virginia Strong – The Comeback – is now underway and announcements regarding future reopenings have been made. The Governor's Safer At Home order also remains in effect.

UPDATE ON CHURCH OUTBREAKS
Additionally on Wednesday, Gov. Justice took time to report that, in the time since churches have resumed in-person services, there have been at least four church-related outbreaks across the state, ranging between five and eight cases per congregation. 

“In total, we’ve seen at least 24 positive cases among church members,” Gov. Justice said. “We all know that a lot of the attendance at our churches are our elderly and, being the most vulnerable of all, we surely don't want to get in a situation where we are passing COVID-19 to our elderly.”

The Governor added that the primary factor in these outbreaks was that the organizations had not adequately planned or put in place social distancing or infection control guidelines. 

“All I am doing now is encouraging you, in our church settings, to follow the guidelines as far as every other pew, as far as social distancing, as far as wearing masks,” Gov. Justice said. “We love our church activities, we absolutely treasure them the most of all. But I’m just cautioning you to take heed and be a little more careful.”

 

UPDATE ON STATEWIDE TESTING OF CORRECTIONAL FACILITIES
Gov. Justice also provided an update from the West Virginia Division of Corrections and Rehabilitation on the Enhanced Testing initiative, recently ordered by Gov. Justice, to test all inmates and employees within the State’s network of correctional facilities for COVID-19.

Click here to view results of the Enhanced Testing initiative

The Division of Corrections remains on track to expand testing to all facilities by June 12.

 

FREE COMMUNITY TESTING: GREENBRIER, HANCOCK, LOGAN, AND WOOD COUNTIES
Gov. Justice also offered a reminder that free community COVID-19 testing will be provided this Friday, June 12, and this Saturday, June 13, in Greenbrier, Hancock, Logan, and Wood counties.

The effort is part of a plan to provide free optional testing to all residents in several counties that are experiencing higher rates of COVID-19 transmission. It targets residents who have struggled to be seen by a physician or do not have insurance to pay for testing. However, other residents, including those who are asymptomatic are welcome to be tested.

Testing is scheduled as follows:

Greenbrier County
Friday, June 12 & Saturday, June 13
9:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. 
Dorie Miller Park, 2300 Rosewood Avenue, Co Route 32/1, Lewisburg, WV 24901

Hancock County
Friday, June 12 & Saturday, June 13
10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. 
Weirton Event Center, 3322 East Street, Weirton, WV 26062

Logan County
Friday, June 12 & Saturday, June 13
9:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.
Cora Volunteer Fire Department, 28 Aldridge Branch, Logan, WV 25601 

Wood County
Friday, June 12 & Saturday, June 13
9:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. 
Parkersburg High School, 2101 Dudley Avenue, Parkersburg, WV 26101

Click here to read more

 

FREE COMMUNITY TESTING: GRANT, HAMPSHIRE, AND HARDY COUNTIES
Additionally, Gov. Justice offered a reminder that free community COVID-19 testing will also be provided only this Saturday, June 13, in Grant, Hampshire, and Hardy counties.

Testing is scheduled as follows:

Grant County
Saturday, June 13
10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. 
EA Hawse Health Center, 64 Hospital Drive #5, Petersburg, WV 26847

Hampshire County
Saturday, June 13
10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. 
EA Hawse Health Center, 22338 North Western Turnpike, Romney, WV 26757

Hardy County (Three locations)
Saturday, June 13
10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. 
EA Hawse Health Center, 17978 WV 55, Baker, WV 26801
EA Hawse Health Center, 8 Lee Street #127, Moorefield, WV 26836
EA Hawse Health Center, 106 Harold K. Michael Drive, Mathias, WV 26812

Click here to read more

 

WEST VIRGINIA STRONG SUMMER FOOD ASSISTANCE MAP
Also Wednesday, Gov. Justice reminded West Virginians that, through a multi-agency effort between the West Virginia National Guard, the West Virginia Department of Education, the West Virginia Bureau of Senior Services, the West Virginia Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster (WV VOAD), and the United Way, an interactive free-feeding location map is now available to all West Virginians. 

Click here to view the map

If food distribution locations aren't available in some communities, individuals are encouraged to call 211 for further assistance.

 

CITY AND COUNTY GRANT APPLICATION REMINDER
The Governor once again offered a reminder that the State recently sent out the application for cities and counties throughout West Virginia to apply for funding through the federal CARES Act.

A new web portal is now available for city and county government officials to apply for this grant funding, at grants.wv.gov. Interested parties can also call the helpline: 1-833-94-GRANT.

 

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

Every West Virginian who does not respond to the Census represents a loss of $20,000 in federal funds over the next 10 years for the state and its local communities. The funds can go toward things like healthcare, education, infrastructure, school lunch programs, and more.

Be counted in minutes: 2020census.gov.

 

DATA UPDATE
Gov. Justice provided another overview of statewide data on COVID-19, highlighting that West Virginia’s cumulative percentage of positive test results had dropped to 1.86 percent.

West Virginia continues to excel in several metrics compared to its surrounding states and the national average. View the latest COVID-19 data at Coronavirus.wv.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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Banner Images Courtesy of the West Virginia Department of Commerce

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