COVID-19 UPDATE: Gov. Justice reports West Virginia transmission rate remains among nation’s best; Aggressive Testing efforts continue to expand

10/12/2020

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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.
WEST VIRGINIA TRANSMISSION RATE AGAIN NEARING BEST IN NATION
During Monday’s briefing, Gov. Justice reported that West Virginia’s statewide rate of COVID-19 transmission – also known as Rt – dropped to 0.92 Monday morning; again tied for the 2nd-best such rate of any state in the country.

After previously ranking as the worst state in the nation in this category, West Virginia has experienced steady improvement, remaining within the top five states in this metric for over a week.

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Meanwhile, the number of active COVID-19 cases across the state has now reached 4,578. However, the cumulative percent of positive cases is dropped slightly to 2.78 percent, down from 2.79 percent on Friday.

West Virginia continues to outperform the national average – as well as the rates of all of its bordering states – in percentage of population tested, percentage of population positive, and percentage of positive test results.

Click here to view the latest COVID-19 data
AGGRESSIVE TESTING CONTINUES ACROSS STATE
Also on Monday, Gov. Justice offered a reminder that additional free testing events are scheduled in the upcoming weeks for several counties all across West Virginia.

This testing is available to all residents in selected counties, 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.

Click here to view all locations, dates, times and more details
As part of the Governor’s Aggressive Testing initiative, testing locations will be added in every county that receives a color designation of Orange or Red on the DHHR County Alert System map (Click "County Alert System" tab)

Additionally, Gov. Justice provided a look at West Virginia’s latest mid-week County Alert System map update Monday:

Red counties: 1 (Mingo)
Orange counties: 6 (Barbour, Berkeley, Doddridge, Harrison, Randolph, Upshur)
Gold counties: 2 (Jackson, Putnam)
Yellow counties: 11 (Brooke, Cabell, Clay, Hancock, Kanawha, Logan, Morgan, Nicholas, Pleasants, Webster, Wirt)
Green counties: 35 (All others)
Gov. Justice also offered a reminder that, as part of his administration’s efforts to expand free COVID-19 testing throughout West Virginia, the State is now partnering with Walgreens and West Virginia-based company Fruth Pharmacy to offer dozens of new free testing sites at several of their pharmacy drive-thrus.

Walgreens is offering free testing at 16 locations statewide, including stores in Boone, Cabell, Fayette, Kanawha, Logan, Monongalia, Putnam, and Raleigh counties.

Fruth Pharmacy is offering free testing at 12 of their locations statewide, including stores in Cabell, Jackson, Kanawha, Mason, Putnam, Roane, and Wood counties.

Click here to find the testing location closest to you
CLARIFYING GUIDANCE ON LIVE PERFORMANCES
On Monday, Gov. Justice updated the safety guidelines for the hosting of live performances, including live music.

Last week, the Governor announced that all outdoor live music performances are permitted to resume, so long as crowd sizes are restricted to 25 percent of the venue’s full capacity or 250 individuals, whichever is less.

The newly updated guidelines clarify that restaurants with outdoor space do not have to further limit their occupancy when a band happens to be playing for entertainment for dining patrons.

All other restrictions pertaining to the hosting of live performances, including live music, remain in effect.

UPDATED GUIDANCE DOCUMENT: A Guide to Safely Hosting Live Performances
GOVERNOR CELEBRATES OPENING OF NEW MOUNTAINEER CHALLENGE ACADEMY LOCATION IN MONTGOMERY
Additionally Monday, Gov. Justice took time out of his remarks on COVID-19 to celebrate the opening of the state’s second Mountaineer ChalleNGe Academy location.

On Sunday, the West Virginia National Guard’s Mountaineer ChalleNGe Academy South, located in Montgomery, officially opened for its inaugural class of 72 cadets, representing 30 counties across the state.

MCA provides educational opportunities for at-risk youth, ages 16-18, in a 22-week quasi-military residential program focused on eight core components. In addition, the Mountaineer Job ChalleNGe Program is available on the campus for cadets or recent graduates who want to earn industry-recognized certifications in fields such as manufacturing, medical technician, pre-apprenticeship, energy sector, and more.

“If you go there and you see these young men and women and you see the great work that they do, it’s phenomenal,” Gov. Justice said. “At our first location at Camp Dawson, we’ve worked with thousands of kids over the years and changed thousands of lives. During my State of the State address earlier this year, I said I wanted to replicate what’s being done in the southern part of the state.”

In January, Gov. Justice announced plans to establish a second MCA utilizing part of the former WVU Tech campus in Montgomery.

“Now, just a few months later, we’ve officially opened, all without increasing the budget a dime,” Gov. Justice said. “There’s no way in the world that I could be more proud.

“Not only will it be good for those kids, but it will be an economic boost for an area of Kanawha County that really needs that boost,” Gov. Justice continued. “Montgomery surely needs it, but all of Kanawha County needs it too.”

Click here to read more about the opening of the new MCA South location
REVIEW OF LATEST DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION SATURDAY MAP UPDATE
Also on Monday, Gov. Justice reviewed this past Saturday’s 5 p.m West Virginia Department of Education color-coded School Alert System map update, which determines the level of scholastic, athletic, and extracurricular activities permitted in each county for the following week.

The results of the update on Saturday, Oct. 10, 2020, were as follows:

Red counties: 0
Orange counties: 4 (Doddridge, Harrison, Mingo, Upshur)
Gold counties: 7 (Barbour, Berkeley, Cabell, Jackson, Kanawha, Putnam, Randolph)
Yellow counties: 6 (Boone, Logan, Moran, Nicholas, Wayne, Wirt)
Green counties: 38 (All others)

State health leaders who make up the COVID-19 Data Review Panel verified the data to ensure the map was a true indication of the safety level in each county.
OUTBREAK REPORT
Additionally Monday, Gov. Justice reported that, per the West Virginia Department of Education, there are 21 active outbreaks in public schools across the state. These outbreaks account for 62 confirmed cases.

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

West Virginia is now down to 14 active church-related outbreaks across 10 counties: Doddridge, Fayette, Harrison, Kanawha, Logan, Mason, Nicholas, Putnam, Tucker, and Upshur counties. Another recent church-related outbreak in McDowell County is no longer considered active at this time.

There are now 47 outbreaks in long-term care facilities across the state, down from 48 on Friday.

Gov. Justice also reported that across the entire Division of Corrections and Rehabilitation (DCR) system, there remain three active cases of COVID-19 among inmates. One within Mount Olive Correctional Complex in Fayette County, one within North Central Regional Jail in Doddridge County, and one within Lorrie Yeager Jr. Juvenile Center in Wood County.

There are now 11 active cases among DCR employees across West Virginia.

Click here to view the latest corrections facility update
FLU VACCINE REMINDER
Once again today, 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.
CITIES/COUNTIES GRANT FUNDING: OVER $142 MILLION HAS NOW BEEN AWARDED
Also today, Gov. Justice provided an update on cities and counties throughout West Virginia applying for funds through the federal CARES Act, reporting that more than $142 million has now been awarded all across the state. To date, 191 cities and counties have applied for this grant funding.

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.
WEST VIRGINIA REMAINS AMONG NATIONAL LEADERS IN CENSUS RESPONSE RATE; ALL URGED TO PARTICIPATE
Once more today, Gov. Justice asked all West Virginians to participate in the 2020 United States Census.

West Virginia remains tied atop the national standings with the #1 best Census response rate in the country: 99.9 percent.

For perspective, during the last Census in 2010, the state’s final response rate was just 74 percent.

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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