COVID-19 UPDATE: Gov. Justice provides update on outbreak at church in Greenbrier County

6/15/2020

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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.

GREENBRIER COUNTY CHURCH UPDATE
On Monday, Gov. Justice provided an update on the most recent outbreak of COVID-19 at one of West Virginia’s churches.

Gov. Justice reported that at least 28 positive cases have now been identified, connected to the same church in Greenbrier County.

“As soon as I heard about this outbreak, I immediately ordered the DHHR, West Virginia National Guard, and Greenbrier County Health Department to run to the fire,” Gov. Justice said. “I also ordered the National Guard to immediately go to the site to begin decontamination, and they are on site today.”

The church has closed for 14 days of environmental cleaning with support from the National Guard. The DHHR will provide guidance on further prevention measures.

The outbreak in Greenbrier County marks the fifth COVID-19 outbreak at one of West Virginia’s churches.

“We have concern like you can’t imagine in that community right now,” Gov. Justice said. “How many communities do we have like this in West Virginia? They’re everywhere. Absolutely, this could be your community tomorrow. This could be your church tomorrow. This could be your family tomorrow.

“We need to do anything and everything we can do to deal with this. I want to strongly encourage all West Virginians, especially when in church settings, to follow the guidelines and use every other pew, maintain social distancing, and please wear masks.”

Due to the outbreak, Gov. Justice announced that free community COVID-19 testing in Greenbrier County – which had already been underway over the weekend – had been extended for an additional day to encourage more community members to be tested.

 

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GRANT FUNDING TO CITIES AND COUNTIES NOW UP TO $6.3 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, as of Monday morning, $6.3 million has now been distributed all across the state.

“We’re looking for more and more people to apply for these CARES Act dollars,” Gov. Justice said. “As we can process applications and follow the federal guidelines, we’ll get the dollars out to you.”

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.

 

WEEK 8 OF “THE COMEBACK” NOW UNDERWAY
During today’s briefing, Gov. Justice reminded West Virginians that today marks the start of the eighth week of his plan to reopen the state’s economy: West Virginia Strong – The Comeback.

No additional reopenings are currently scheduled for Week 8 as health experts continue to monitor the number of COVID-19 cases across the state.

“We’ve had a lot of reopenings that we’ve had in the past few weeks, but we still need to remain very cautious,” Gov. Justice said. “As we go forward, we’re going to continue to watch the numbers and stay on top of them in every way we possibly can.”

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.

 

STATE OF EMERGENCY IN EFFECT FOR FAYETTE COUNTY FLOODING
Gov. Justice took time out of Monday’s briefing to provide more information on weekend flooding in Fayette County, which caused the Governor to declare a State of Emergency yesterday evening.

The Governor reported that the storm carried with it a large amount of hail and lightning, along with excessive amounts of rain that caused flooding in the Oak Hill, Minden, Scarboro, and Whipple areas of Fayette County.

“Multiple businesses and homes have been inundated with floodwaters,” Gov. Justice said. “No one has reported any loss of life at this time, but people have had to evacuate homes and they’ve had water damage and all kinds of other issues.

“Please join Cathy and I in keeping everyone affected by this terrible flooding in your thoughts and prayers.”

Swiftwater rescue teams from Oak Hill and surrounding fire departments were performing water rescues in the Minden area.

Warm Hands from Warm Hearts in Oak Hill is operational as a shelter for evacuees of the impacted areas.

The American Red Cross and WV VOAD were working at the Emergency Operations Center Monday morning.

The West Virginia Division of Highways had crews out Sunday and overnight into Monday morning. They discovered damage to a bridge approach on Old Minden Road and several roads have significant shoulder, ditch, and embankment erosion and are blocked with debris. Complete repairs will take approximately a week and a half, with crews working extended hours.

 

FREE COMMUNITY TESTING: OHIO, PUTNAM, AND SUMMERS COUNTIES
Also Monday, Gov. Justice announced that the next round of free community COVID-19 testing will be provided this Friday, June 19, and this Saturday, June 20, in Ohio, Putnam, and Summers 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:

Ohio County (Two locations)
Friday, June 19

9:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.
Exley Center at Hil-Dar: 2155 Angle Avenue, Wheeling, WV 26003
Saturday, June 20
9:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.
North Wheeling Dream Center: 407 Main Street, Wheeling, WV 26003
 
Putnam County
Friday, June 19  & Saturday, June 20

9:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.
Teays Valley Baptist Church: 3926 Teays Valley Road, Hurricane, WV 25526
 
Summers County
Friday, June 19  & Saturday, June 20

9:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.
Freight Depot: 508 Commercial Street, Hinton, WV 25951 

Identification, such as a driver’s license or proof of address, is required to be tested. Those under the age of 18 must be accompanied by a parent or legal guardian.

Click here to read more

 

WEST VIRGINIA STRONG SUMMER FOOD ASSISTANCE MAP
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 12 active COVID-19 cases among inmates and residents at five jails and two prisons across West Virginia and six active COVID-19 cases among corrections employees and contract staff. More than 10,000 inmates and 4,000 employees were tested in total.

On Friday, Gov. Justice announced that the full testing of all facilities had been completed. However, many test results remain pending at this time.

 

DHHR UPDATE: CONNECTIONS APP DEPLOYED FOR INDIVIDUALS IN RECOVERY
The West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources (DHHR), Office of Drug Control Policy today announced the expanded availability of the Connections App, a resource launched in April 2020 with a goal to reduce isolation and offer support resources to West Virginians sustaining recovery from a Substance Use Disorder during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

The Connections App, previously available only to patients connected to treatment providers to encourage engagement and treatment adherence, will now be accessible by individuals in recovery who are no longer affiliated with a provider but still need the Connections App resources. 

The Connections App from CHESS Health is an engaging, evidence-based solution proven to improve treatment and long-term recovery outcomes for individuals with substance use disorder.

Click here to read more

 

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 1.74 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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