COVID-19 UPDATE: Gov. Justice outlines Week 9 of The Comeback

6/22/2020

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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.

WEEK 9 OF “THE COMEBACK” NOW UNDERWAY
During Monday’s briefing, Gov. Justice offered a reminder that the Week 9 phase of West Virginia Strong – The Comeback is now officially underway, meaning that several additional types of activities are permitted to reopen, provided that all safety guidelines are being properly followed.

Approved activity reopenings on Monday, June 22, include:

Monday also marked the first day that high schools across West Virginia were permitted to begin holding in-person graduation ceremonies, provided that several strict guidelines are followed; including that all graduations must be held at outdoor venues and must be structured to allow for adequate social distancing and for other safety measures to be properly followed.

Click here to view full guidelines for in-person graduation ceremonies

Entities included in each phase of this reopening plan are not required to resume operations on any specific date. This plan provides the option for reopening, not a requirement.

 

RALEIGH COUNTY ASSISTED LIVING COMMUNITY UPDATE
Additionally Monday, Gov. Justice reported that one direct care staff member at the Greystone Assisted Living Community in Raleigh County has tested positive for COVID-19.

The Governor reported that the employee had worked in the facility both the day before and the day of the positive test. However, the employee had been wearing a cloth mask throughout their shift.

Today, county health officials tested all residents and all staff members who live and work in the community.

At the direction of Gov. Justice, West Virginia was the first state in the nation to require the full testing of all assisted living facilities and the first state in the nation to require the full testing of all nursing homes.

 

Click images to view photo album​

DATA UPDATE
Also on Monday, Gov. Justice reported that the number of active COVID-19 cases in West Virginia is up over 100 since Friday, with a total of 782 cases active at this time.

“We are seeing the results of people traveling out of our state – especially places like Myrtle Beach – and we see the fact that this disease has not gone away, has it? It’s still right here with us,” Gov. Justice said. “I would continue to just encourage you, so much, in every way, to watch what you’re doing.”

Click here to view more data on Coronavirus.wv.gov

 

GOVERNOR URGES MYRTLE BEACH VISITORS TO GET TESTED
Once again on Monday, Gov. Justice discussed the recent surge in COVID-19 cases seen at Myrtle Beach in South Carolina, cautioning residents who are considering traveling to the popular vacation destination that several West Virginians have returned from Myrtle Beach and learned they were exposed to the virus.

There are now outbreaks in six West Virginia counties tied to Myrtle Beach:

  • Preston County: 26 individuals positive with 11 probable cases
  • Berkeley County: 12 individuals positive  
  • Cabell County: 5 individuals positive 
  • Kanawha County: 3 individuals positive 
  • Raleigh County: 2 individuals positive 
  • Taylor County: 1 individual positive 

“This is enough,” Gov. Justice said. “If you’ve gone to Myrtle Beach, we want you tested. When you get back, take advantage of our free testing locations.

“In order to be able to protect you, we’ve got to have information,” Gov. Justice continued. “Myrtle Beach is an absolute hot spot and, if I were you, I would consider going somewhere else. But, if you end up going to Myrtle Beach, when you come back, please get yourself tested.”

Click here for list of free testing locations

 

DHHR RELEASES VACATION TRAVEL GUIDANCE
Later Monday afternoon, officials with the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources’ Bureau for Public Health (BPH) released safety guidelines outlining the best practices for West Virginians traveling for vacation.

Click here to view full guidelines for vacation travel

 

UPCOMING FREE COMMUNITY TESTING LOCATIONS: BOONE, CABELL, HANCOCK, LINCOLN, MCDOWELL, MINGO, RALEIGH, AND WYOMING COUNTIES
Gov. Justice also offered a reminder that free community COVID-19 testing is being provided in Boone, Cabell, Hancock, Lincoln, McDowell, Mingo, Raleigh, and Wyoming counties at various times and dates over the span of this week.

Testing is scheduled as follows:

Boone County
Wednesday, June 24

10:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.
Racine Park: 446 John Slack Circle, Racine, WV 25165

Cabell County
Friday, June 26

1:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m.
A.D. Lewis Community Center: 1450 A.D. Lewis Avenue, Huntington, WV
Saturday, June 27
9:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.
A.D. Lewis Community Center: 1450 A.D. Lewis Avenue, Huntington, WV

Hancock County
Friday, June 26 & Saturday, June 27

10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.
Mountaineer Casino: 1420 Mountaineer Circle, Track Side Building, New Cumberland, WV

Lincoln County
Monday, June 29

10:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.
Lincoln County High School: 81 Lincoln Panther Way, Hamlin, WV  25523

McDowell County
Friday, June 26

10:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.
River View High School: 556 Mountaineer Highway, Bradshaw, WV 24817

Mingo County
Friday, June 26 & Saturday, June 27

9:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.
183 East 2nd Avenue, Williamson, WV

Raleigh County
Tuesday, June 23

8:30 a.m. – 2:30 p.m. 
Beckley Raleigh County Convention Center: 100 Armory Drive, Beckley, WV  25801

Wyoming County
Monday, June 22

9:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.
Berlin McKinney Elementary School: 405 Cook Parkway, Oceana, WV 24870
Monday, June 22
1:30 p.m. – 4:30 p.m.
Palisades Park: 155 Park Street, Pineville, WV 24874
Tuesday, June 23
1:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.                                      
City Parking Lot: 316 Howard Avenue, Mullens, WV 25882
Thursday, June 25
9:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.
374 Lizard Creek Park Road, Hanover, WV 24839

Click here for more information: Cabell, Hancock, and Mingo counties

Click here for more information: Boone, Lincoln, McDowell, Raleigh, and Wyoming counties

 

 

 

UPDATE ON CHURCH OUTBREAKS
Additionally Monday, Gov. Justice provided an update on several church-related outbreaks of COVID-19 across West Virginia. 

Gov. Justice reported that three church-related outbreaks are active at this time. They are associated with churches located in Greenbrier, Ohio, and Boone counties.

To-date, the outbreak in Greenbrier County has resulted in 41 positive test results. The outbreak in Ohio County has resulted in 18 positive test results. The outbreak in Boone County has resulted in nine positive test results. 

“I keep saying, over and over, that I strongly encourage you, when you’re in a church, wear your mask, stay socially distanced, use every other pew,” Gov. Justice said. “In a church setting, where people are singing and close together, it is an absolute breeding ground for this disease to perpetuate itself and we’ve absolutely got to be on our game there and follow our guidelines.”

 

GOV. JUSTICE PAYS TRIBUTE TO FALLEN FIREFIGHTER
Gov. Justice took time out of Monday’s address to discuss the tragic loss this weekend of a member of the Iaeger Volunteer Fire Department.

According to the West Virginia State Fire Marshal’s Office, 42-year-old Iaeger VFD firefighter Russell Roberson passed away while responding to a house fire in McDowell County.
 
The fire and incident are currently under investigation by the State Fire Marshal’s Office.

“Every single one of our firefighters and first responders are all of our heroes. They always run to the fire,” Gov. Justice said. “We know that this man is an absolute hero. We ask so much that you pause and pray for this wonderful man, a hero that we lost.”

 

STATE OF EMERGENCY: GREENBRIER AND MONROE COUNTIES
Gov. Justice also took time out of Monday’s briefing to report that over the weekend, he declared a State of Emergency for Greenbrier and Monroe counties after rainfall caused significant flooding in the Alderson area.

“No one has died, but several structures were damaged,” Gov. Justice said. “I want to thank everybody, from our emergency management teams, to the DOH, to our National Guard for quickly responding to this emergency.

The Governor added that, for residents affected by the flooding, the West Virginia National Guard will perform debris pickup in the Alderson area Wednesday morning, June 24, 2020. All debris needs to be at the curbside for pickup.

 

GRANT FUNDS TO CITIES AND COUNTIES UP TO $11 MILLION
Also on Monday, Gov. Justice provided an update on cities and counties throughout West Virginia applying for funds through the federal CARES Act, reporting that more than $11 million has now been distributed all across the state.

A web portal is available for city and county government officials to apply for this grant funding: grants.wv.gov. 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 COVID-19 transparency web portal provided by West Virginia State Auditor’s Office.

 

WEST VIRGINIA STRONG SUMMER FOOD ASSISTANCE MAP
Also on Monday, Gov. Justice reminded West Virginians that an interactive free-feeding location map, designed to help connect citizens in need to food resources across the state, is now available online.

Click here to view the map

More than 670 free-feeding locations have been made available 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.

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

 

STATEWIDE CORRECTIONAL FACILITIES TESTING UPDATE
Additionally Monday, Gov. Justice provided another update on his initiative to test all inmates and employees within the State’s network of correctional facilities for COVID-19.

The most recent testing results showed there were a total of four active COVID-19 cases among all inmates and residents across West Virginia. The cases are all at Huttonsville Correctional Center and Jail. There also remains one active COVID-19 case among corrections employees and contract staff.

More than 10,000 inmates and 4,000 employees were tested in total.

 

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.

 

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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