COVID-19 UPDATE: Gov. Justice says we “will remain as aggressive as possible to save as many lives as we possibly can” in face of COVID-19

4/6/2020

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CHARLESTON, WV - Gov. Jim Justice joined State health leaders and officials from his administration at the Capitol Complex in Charleston today for a virtual press briefing to once again update the public on the many measures being taken in the interest of protecting the public from the spread of novel coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).

Gov. Jim Justice told West Virginians on Monday that the state continues to do the right things to limit the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus and assured residents that we “will remain as aggressive as possible to save as many lives as we possibly can.”

“We are on top of this and overreaction never hurt anyone, it may be inconvenient, but if it gives us the ability to save just one life it’s worth it,” Gov. Justice added as he spoke after explaining two executive orders he issued over the weekend to give county health departments in six counties (Berkeley, Jefferson, Morgan, Kanawha, Monongalia, and Harrison) the authority to further tighten measures to keep the spread of COVID-19 to a minimum in locales where the majority of positive tests in the state have been recorded.

View the Executive Order for Berkeley, Jefferson, and Morgan counties here. 

View the Executive Order for Kanawha, Monongalia, and Harrison counties here. 

He also confirmed the state’s fourth death attributed to COVID-19, an 85-year-old male from Harrison County with underlying conditions. “Please join Cathy and me as we think about those who have passed and remember them, and their family and friends, in our prayers...we miss them.”

“Just keep the faith,” Gov. Justice added. “I know I’ve been saying it but I’ll say it again, we’re doing the right things so just stay the course because we still have a long way to go.”

The Governor indicated that a positive test result had been confirmed at Eastbrook Center Nursing Home in Charleston and that state, county, and city personnel were dispatched to test all staff and residents on Monday and that Charleston Area Medical Center would be handling the tests.

A Workforce West Virginia employee has also tested positive, according to Gov. Justice and that employee has been isolated at home and other measures have been put in place to monitor other Workforce employees.

  
WORKFORCE WV UPDATE:

Gov. Justice also reported that Workforce West Virginia, with assistance from the West Virginia National Guard, is now operating their call center 24/7 with additional personnel at various locations so that the phone calls and backlog of claims are being addressed.

Maj. Gen. James Hoyer, Adjutant General of the WVNG, said that during the “next couple of days” the claims process should show marked improvement.

workforcewv.org
WEST VIRGINIA NATIONAL GUARD UPDATE
 
Today, the West Virginia National Guard has nearly 500 Soldiers and Airmen on duty supporting COVID-19 response efforts across the state. As of today, additional members of the West Virginia National Guard are assisting Workforce West Virginia to increase capacity for the state to process unemployment claims and assist our citizens in need during this difficult time. This number will increase to nearly 30 by mid-week with the establishment of up to four call centers across the state, thanks to assistance by West Virginia University's customer care center staff.
 
This morning, our Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear (CBRN) Response Enterprise (CRE) task force assisted CAMC, Kanawha-Charleston Health Department and Kanawha Count Ambulance Authority in COVID-19 testing of 124 residents and 25 staff from Eastbrook Center. In addition, this team of experts will train an additional nine establishments in proper cargo, box handling, and PPE wear today. So far, this task force has trained 75 stores and 364 personnel.
 
Our communications team, in conjunction with Marshall University and West Virginia University, tested network capabilities for telehealth initiatives in Wharton last week and Hundred today, where connectivity is sparse. Last week's test was successful in providing connectivity in some of West Virginia's hardest to reach areas, which could provide access to telehealth for populations across the state. This team spent the weekend providing assistance at St. Francis Hospital to rewiring of phone lines as former office spaces are turned into COVID-19 treatment rooms.
 
In the last 24 hours, the West Virginia National Guard, in conjunction with the Department of Health and Human Resources, conducted 77 contact tracing and data analysis engagements for the tracking of COVID-19 spread and performed 17 expedited specimen transfers to the state lab.
 
We are also continuing our mission of supporting the most vulnerable populations in the state and in the last 24 hours our refrigerated trucks assisted with the delivery of 2,700 meals to Pleasants, Ritchie, Barbour and Gilmer Counties.
 
West Virginia Guardsmen and women are preparing and distributing hand sanitizer to locations across the state today. Support to partner agencies through providing traffic control for drive through testing facilities in Huntington and Grafton is ongoing and we will begin assisting in Wyoming and Mingo Counties this week. Additionally, personnel will provide assistance at St. Francis Hospital this week in the conversion of space to support COVID-19 patients.

Read more here. 
UPDATE FROM COVID-19 CZAR:

COVID-19 Czar Dr. Clay Marsh indicated that new modeling being done by the University of Washington shows that the surge in West Virginia, once projected at around May 4 is now April 15 and that the number of projected deaths has changed from 500 to between 150-170.

“We’re doing great but now is certainly not the time to become complacent, doubling down on what we’ve been doing really helps,” Dr. Marsh said. “But it’s time for us to do even better. I implore you not to be satisfied with this. Remain personally responsible for the safety of your family, your community and your first responders.”
DHHR DETAILS DASHBOARD INFORMATION, PROMOTES TELEPHONE HELPLINES:

State Health Officer Dr. Cathy Slemp spoke about the information dashboard that has been set-up at coronavirus.wv.gov to keep the public updated with accurate data and encouraged citizens to use the site to stay informed.

Gov. Justice lauded the DHHR’s efforts and noted that the most recent information posted to the dashboard showed 345 confirmed positive cases out of 9,940 tests that have been conducted, reflecting that West Virginia’s positive rate is at 3.47 percent.

“We are pacing significantly lower than the rest of the nation, except for Minnesota,” said Gov. Justice. “Now we know this pandemic is rough stuff and it's truly devastating that we have lost four of our residents, but we’ve got to just keep doing the right things, keep social distancing, keep washing our hands.

“We’re doing the right things out there, and while social distancing helps keep your physical help don’t forget about mental health as well,” Sec. Crouch said. He indicated that new information is being added frequently to the coronavirus.wv.gov website including guidance on stress and coping, protective guidance for non-healthcare settings, and guidance for hotels, motels, and other lodging facilities.
COVID-19 WEBSITE UPDATES:

Find these resources at: coronavirus.wv.gov

Under the “Behavioral Health” tab
  • Guidance on Stress and Coping 
  • Provides tips for reducing stress for parents and caregivers, children, and responders.
Under the “Public” tab
  • Protective Guidance for Non-Healthcare Settings 
  • Updated with CDC guidance for use of face masks in public.
Under the “Travel” tab
  • Guidance for Hotels, Motels, and Other Lodging Facilities
  • Preventative actions for hotel workers, information on out of state travelers and more.
Almost all applications for the benefits DHHR offers can be made online through www.WVPATH.org.  

You can also find ways to access local resources in your area by finding the contact info for your county's Family Resource Network at www.WVFRN.org.
FEDERAL DISASTER DECLARATION APPROVED FOR STATE BY PRESIDENT TRUMP

Gov. Justice also thanked President Trump for approving a disaster declaration for the state on Friday that will provide direct financial assistance to help West Virginia communities recover from the impacts of COVID-19. 
ADDITIONAL INFORMATION
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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