COVID-19 UPDATE: Gov. Justice provides clarification on active case numbers; announces one-time payment to foster care providers

6/24/2020

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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.

ACTIVE CASE NUMBERS CLARIFICATION
During Wednesday’s briefing, Gov. Justice offered additional clarification on the remaining number of active COVID-19 cases in Randolph County related to Huttonsville Correctional Center and Jail.

In the last several days, DHHR’s Office of Epidemiology and Prevention Services and the West Virginia National Guard have worked closely with the Randolph County Health Department to close out 103 cases associated with the outbreak at Huttonsville Correctional Center. This was a unique situation specific to the outbreak investigation of Huttonsville Correctional Center in that it required manual data entry.
 
On the COVID-19 Dashboard, Randolph County is still showing 51 open cases. The Office of Epidemiology and Prevention Services will be working with the Randolph County Health Department to learn if there are additional case reports to be closed out associated with that outbreak.

“It’s a good day only from the standpoint that we don’t have as many cases as we thought we did, but I’m really hung up on giving you the right numbers,” Gov. Justice said. “If I tell you it’s a seven today, I want you to be able to come back in three weeks and it be a seven. I want to be accurate and transparent at all times and I demand that of our people and I have since day one.

“I depend on our experts to be accurate every time,” Gov. Justice continued. “If I overstate the number of active cases, then I’m scaring you when I don't need to. That’s not gonna cut it with me.”

 

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DHHR TO PROVIDE ONE-TIME PAYMENT TO FOSTER CARE FAMILIES FOR COVID-19 RESPONSE
Also on Wednesday, Gov. Justice announced that the DHHR’s Bureau for Children and Families will soon issue a one-time payment to foster care families and providers as part of the state’s ongoing response to COVID-19.
 
This payment will provide in-state foster families, child placing agencies, as well as residential and emergency shelters additional financial help for costs related to the COVID-19 pandemic over the past several months.
 
“It’s unbelievably good news that we’ve got this money that will be going out to help our kids and to help our foster families,” Gov. Justice said. “Our entire foster care community does great, great work and we can never thank them enough.”

The payment will be based upon the number of children in the home or facility at the end of June 2020. Payment will be received in July 2020. 

Click here to read more

 

BUCKHANNON STOCKYARD
Additionally on Wednesday, Gov. Justice announced that the Upshur-Buckhannon Health Department has confirmed 10 cases of COVID-19 from attendees of a pair of auctions that were held at the Buckhannon Stockyard on June 3 and June 10, 2020.

The 10 cases are associated with a family-run business in Upshur and Lewis counties, with the last case being identified on June 18, 2020. The concession area was in operation during the auction at 50 percent capacity.
 
The Upshur-Buckhannon Health Department is asking the public who may have attended this auction to please contact their local health department to assist with contact tracing.

The stockyard has been closed and will not reopen until those that are positive have been released from quarantine.

 

THE COMEBACK | GUIDANCE DOCS | SAFER AT HOME ORDER
Week 9 of the Gov. Justice reopening plan – West Virginia Strong – The Comeback – is now underway and announcements regarding future reopenings have been made. Guidance documents for all businesses and other entities permitted to reopen can be found online.

The Governor's Safer At Home order remains in effect.

MYRTLE BEACH OUTBREAKS
Once again on Wednesday, Gov. Justice discussed the recent surge in COVID-19 cases being seen at Myrtle Beach in South Carolina, again cautioning residents who are considering traveling to the popular vacation destination that there are now outbreaks in 11 West Virginia counties that are tied to residents traveling to the Myrtle Beach area. This number is up from six counties experiencing outbreaks as of Monday.

The following counties that have reported to DHHR that they are investigating outbreaks:

  • Preston County: 32 individuals positive with 10 probable cases
  • Berkeley County: 13 individuals positive
  • Kanawha County: 8 individuals positive 
  • Raleigh County: 6 individuals positive 
  • Cabell County: 5 individuals positive 
  • Greenbrier County: 2 individuals positive
  • Putnam County: 2 individuals positive 
  • Fayette County: 1 individual positive
  • Mercer County: 1 individual positive
  • Ritchie County: 1 individual positive
  • Taylor County: 1 individual positive

“I strongly would tell you that, if you’re thinking about going to Myrtle Beach, rethink what you’re doing,” Gov. Justice said. “And if you have been, go get tested. It’s really important that you do that.”

Click here for list of free testing locations

 

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 (COMPLETE)

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 (COMPLETE)

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

Wyoming County
Monday, June 22 (COMPLETE)

9:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.
Berlin McKinney Elementary School: 405 Cook Parkway, Oceana, WV 24870
Monday, June 22 (COMPLETE)
1:30 p.m. – 4:30 p.m.
Palisades Park: 155 Park Street, Pineville, WV 24874
Tuesday, June 23 (COMPLETE)
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
Once again Wednesday, Gov. Justice provided an update on several church-related outbreaks of COVID-19 across West Virginia.

Gov. Justice reported that three church-related outbreaks still remain 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 strongly urge, just what I’ve said over and over, use every other pew, maintain social distancing, and please wear your mask,” Gov. Justice said. “The church setting is probably one of the ripest possible settings you could be in to transmit this terrible disease.”

 

UNEMPLOYMENT DECREASES IN ALL 55 COUNTIES
Also on Wednesday, Gov. Justice reported that county-level data from WorkForce West Virginia for the month of May showed that the unemployment rates decreased in all 55 counties across the state.

Last week, WorkForce West Virginia reported that West Virginia’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for the month of May dropped three percentage points to 12.9 percent. The national unemployment rate decreased to 13.3 percent in May, meaning West Virginia’s jobs rate is currently better than the national average.

“You all know that at one time, not long ago, we had an unemployment rate less than five percent,” Gov. Justice said. “So, we still have a ways to go, but we’re doing better there.”

 

GOVERNOR COMMEMORATES FOURTH ANNIVERSARY OF HISTORIC WEST VIRGINIA FLOODS
Gov. Justice took time out of his briefing to commemorate yesterday’s four-year anniversary of the historic West Virginia flooding on June 23, 2016, which devastated several communities across the state.

“We lost all kinds of people,” Gov. Justice said. “I was right in the middle of all the destruction and it was single-handedly the worst event I’ve ever been through in my life and I tried to help people in every way I could.

“It was a time where we waded mud and we looked for six weeks for a 14-year-old girl. It was a time where we watched people see all of their possessions just being loaded up in dump trucks and towed away. It was a time where we saw people come together and do great work.

“I want us to all recognize that yesterday – June 23rd – was a day that will live in our hearts in this state for a long, long time. For all those that went through that terrible tragedy, let’s not forget them ever.”

 

GRANT FUNDS TO CITIES AND COUNTIES UP TO $11 MILLION
Also on 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 $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 Wednesday, 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 Wednesday, 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 three active COVID-19 cases among all inmates and residents across West Virginia. The cases are all at Huttonsville Correctional Center and Jail. There also remain two active COVID-19 cases 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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