COVID-19 UPDATE: Gov. Justice signs order allowing Week 4 businesses to reopen Thursday; results of statewide nursing home testing announced

5/19/2020

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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.

EXECUTIVE ORDER TO ALLOW "WEEK 4" BUSINESSES TO REOPEN
On Tuesday, Gov. Justice announced that he has signed the executive order that will formally allow businesses in the “Week 4” phase of the Governor’s reopening plan to resume operations if they so choose.

Businesses that are part of the Week 4 reopenings include:

  • Indoor dining at restaurants
  • Large/specialty retail stores
  • State park campgrounds for in-state residents only (Guidance for ALL campgrounds)
  • Hatfield McCoy Trail System
  • Outdoor recreation rentals (Kayaks, bicycles, boats, rafts, canoes, ATVs, and similar equipment)
  • Outdoor motorsport and powersport racing with no spectators
  • Tanning businesses​​
  • Whitewater rafting
  • Ziplining​
  • Indoor malls and similar facilities​


The order will go into effect at midnight on Thursday, May 21, 2020.

The new order also rescinds the requirement for out-of-state travelers visiting West Virginia to self-quarantine for 14 days upon their arrival, a mandate originally put in place on March 30.

 

Click images to view photo album​

NEW GUIDANCE DOCUMENTS AVAILABLE
Gov. Justice also announced that additional guidance documents are now available for several types of businesses and entities that are part of the Governor's Week 5 phase of reopenings, including indoor and outdoor bars at 50% capacitymuseums and visitor centerszoos, as well as spas and massage businesses.

Guidance documents for additional types of businesses that are part of the reopening plan will be provided on The Comeback page of the Governor’s Office website as soon as they are available.

 

Click the links to read more about the Governor's reopening plan, West Virginia Strong – The Comeback, and the Governor's new Safer At Home order.

 


STATE HEALTH OFFICIALS ANNOUNCE RESULTS OF COVID-19 TESTING IN NURSING HOMES
Also today, Dr. Cathy Slemp, State Health Officer and Commissioner of the DHHR's Bureau for Public Health, along with DHHR Secretary Bill Crouch, shared the results of Gov. Justice’s recent directive that made West Virginia the first state in the country to require the testing of all residents and staff at all nursing homes statewide.

In total, 22,598 people at 123 nursing homes were tested; including 8,911 residents and 13,687 staff members.

At the time of the testing, six percent of facilities already had COVID-19 cases identified. The initiative resulted in new identification of 28 facilities with at least one individual positive for COVID-19. 
 
New individuals positive for COVID-19 was more common among staff. Thirty-one staff tested positive, accounting for 74 percent of the cases identified during the initial testing, while 11 residents tested newly positive (26 percent of the cases). 
 
Sixty-four percent of facilities had only staff test positive at initial testing. In the majority of these (20 facilities, 87%), the new finding was a single positive resident or staff person (14 staff, 6 residents). 
 
In eight facilities, newly identified positive cases resulted in new outbreaks (two or more cases in residents or staff). Staff were involved more than residents (17 staff; 5 residents). Of these outbreaks, six have had no additional cases.

 

FIRST POSITIVE CASE IN CORRECTIONS SYSTEM
Also today, Gov. Justice announced that, for the first time, an inmate at one of West Virginia’s correctional facilities has tested positive for COVID-19.

The positive case was found in a 62-year-old male inmate at Huttonsville Correctional Center in Randolph County.

“What we’ll do is, immediately, we’ll test all of the inmates and staff in the block that we found this positive and we’re going to move forward and test all the staff in the entire facility,” Gov. Justice said. “As we test the inmates in that block today, if we find we have additional positives, we’ll expand that testing to all of the inmates in the entire facility.

“We’ve got to be prepared to run to the fire,” Gov. Justice continued. “We know this disease is with us. We’ve had wonderful blessings that we’ve not had an issue in our jail system. But we knew it was probably coming and, now that it’s here, we’re trying to run to this fire and put it out as quickly as possible.”

Yesterday, the West Virginia Department of Military Affairs and Public Safety confirmed that a part-time correctional officer at Huttonsville also tested positive for COVID-19. However, these are not believed to be connected.

Click here to read more

 

STATE RECEIVES REMDESIVIR SHIPMENT
Additionally today, Gov. Justice announced that the State of West Virginia has received a shipment of the drug Remdesivir from the United States Department of Health and Human Services. 

The drug is produced by Gilead and was donated to the State for use in critically ill COVID-19 patients from West Virginia.

“I want to personally thank our President for allowing us to get some and have some of this potentially life-saving drug,” Gov. Justice said.

 

CITY AND COUNTY GRANT APPLICATION REMINDER
The Governor also offered a reminder that, on Friday, the State sent out the application for cities and counties throughout West Virginia to apply for CARES Act money.

Gov. Justice also reiterated that a new web portal is now available for city and county government officials to apply for this grant funding, at grants.wv.gov. Interested parties can also call the helpline: 1-833-94-GRANT.

“I encourage you to apply as quickly as possible and we will process and get those dollars back to you as efficiently as we possibly can,” Gov. Justice said. “I absolutely want you to know that you don’t have to include everything and the kitchen sink, because there are guidelines that we have to go by and we are not going to be able to include everything and the kitchen sink.

“But, as the guidelines begin to be modified more, and they’re going to, as sure as I know my name, you have multiple times of applying,” Gov. Justice continued. “All you’re doing now is applying for what you can definitely connect right back to COVID-19.

“Do that and then know you’re going to have many more bites at the apple that you can continue to absolutely apply. This is for expenses only at this time. This is not for backfilling revenue and everything. But I believe, with all in me, that these guidelines are about to change. And the more significant dollars will come in the next phases.”

 

PAYCHECK PROTECTION PROGRAM FUNDING STILL AVAILABLE
Gov. Justice also offered a reminder that the United States Small Business Administration’s Paycheck Protection Program is still taking applications.

The funds are delivering much needed financial relief to small businesses across West Virginia during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“It’s still open and if you haven’t applied, I urge you to do so,” Gov. Justice said. “If you could possibly qualify, but you’re not sure, or you don’t know quite how to fill out the form, call them and ask them to help you through the whole process for how you have to fill out the application.

“It’s still available and we want all of our businesses – it doesn’t matter how small you are – just think about how you can propose that businesses, let the SBA walk you through the process, who knows, you may very well qualify and it could be something significant to your family in every way.”

Learn more at sba.gov.

 

WEST VIRGINIANS URGED TO PARTICIPATE IN CENSUS
Once more today, Gov. Justice asked all West Virginians to participate in the 2020 United States Census.

“You can’t imagine how important it is to West Virginia,” Gov. Justice said. “We’ve got to all be counted. Please help each other. We’ve got to get counted or else we’re going to short-change ourselves millions and millions of dollars.”

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.

 

GOV. JUSTICE THANKS LOCAL HEALTH DEPARTMENTS, LOCAL HEALTH OFFICERS
Gov. Justice took time today to thank local health departments and local health officers across West Virginia for their brave and important work throughout the pandemic.

“I can’t say enough about our local health officials,” Gov. Justice said. “They deserve all kinds of credit because they are our front line soldiers.

“You have done great work and I really appreciate you.”

 

DATA UPDATE
Today, Gov. Justice provided an overview of statewide data on COVID-19, highlighting that West Virginia’s cumulative percentage of positive test results has dropped, once again, to 1.93 percent.

Additionally, the number of West Virginians who have recovered from COVID-19 has increased to 950, while the number of active cases has dropped to 497.

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.

 

WEST VIRGINIA NATIONAL GUARD UPDATE
Click here to read more about the West Virginia National Guard's response to the pandemic

 

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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