COVID-19 UPDATE: Gov. Justice: West Virginia first state in nation to begin testing all assisted living facility residents and staff for COVID-19


​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.

On Thursday, Gov. Justice announced that an effort to test all residents and staff members at every assisted living facility in West Virginia is underway.

The action came after the Governor’s Executive Order yesterday made West Virginia the first state in the nation to require all-inclusive assisted living facility testing statewide.

“I love it when I’m able to report to you over and over that West Virginia is the first in something,” Gov. Justice said. “We are setting a national example. People are paying attention to West Virginia and the fruits will be numerous as we go forward.”

Last month, at the direction of Gov. Justice, West Virginia became the first state in the nation to require COVID-19 testing for all nursing home residents and staff statewide.

In the time since, several other states have begun to follow suit.

“We had issues popping up in our nursing homes,” Gov. Justice said. “But then we – all West Virginians – we were proactive, we pushed the right buttons, we moved decisively and we moved fast and our numbers have gotten better.

“The one thing that I’ve learned in all of the business work that I’ve done is that opportunity doesn’t stand there and look at you forever. You can’t study stuff to death. You can’t have 15 committees. Somebody’s got to make a decision. And we made the decision to test all the nursing homes, a good decision, we were the first state in the nation to do that.

“When you’re the state that’s leading the way, it is good stuff. We led the way in being proactive and, by leading the way, we’ve produced incredible numbers.”


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Also today, Gov. Justice observed the 2020 National Day of Prayer, asking all West Virginians to join him and First Lady Cathy Justice in praying for the safety of frontline workers and for the health and well-being of all West Virginians during this time.

“If there is any day on the planet that we all need to gather and say prayers and try to ask the good Lord above to intervene, it’s today,” Gov. Justice said. “He’s in control, He’s watching after us, and He has especially watched after West Virginia. So we’ve just got to continue to ask and send up our prayers. So please join Cathy and I in prayer on this incredible day.”


Additionally, Gov. Justice announced that he plans to announce new information tomorrow about the reopening of the Hatfield-McCoy Trail, including the date and additional reopening guidelines.

“That will be coming down the pike in the relatively short term,” Gov. Justice said. “I’m really happy that we’re going to be able to announce some good stuff in regard to the Hatfield-McCoy system.”


During today's press conference, Maj. Gen. James Hoyer, Adjutant General of the West Virginia National Guard (WVNG), highlighted a training session between the WVNG and the West Virginia Division of Highways that took place yesterday to provide personal protective equipment (PPE) training at their facility.

"This partnership is exceptionally important so that all West Virginia state agencies workers can return feeling confident that their workplace has implemented safeguards and best practices to ensure a safe workplace," Hoyer said. "At the Governor's direction, we will work with all agencies in state government to prepare them for reopening in the safest manner possible."

Hoyer also added that during the month of May, West Virginia Voluntary Organizations Active in Disasters (WVVOAD), Catholic Charities West Virginia, and West Virginia Council of Churches are sponsoring a food drive to support COVID-19 relief efforts. These organizations are urging all West Virginians that can, to donate canned and dry goods during this month. Anyone who is interested in donating can visit or call 211 for a list of local food pantries.

Click here to read more about all the WVNG’s response efforts


Once again, Gov. Justice broke down statewide data on COVID-19, highlighting that West Virginia’s growth rate of positive tests increased slightly today. However, the Governor also pointed out that the state cumulative rate of positive tests decreased again.

Additionally, the Governor pointed out that the number of people who have recovered from COVID-19 continues to increase while the number of active COVID-19 cases continues to decrease.

View the latest COVID-19 data at


WorkForce West Virginia Acting Commissioner Scott Adkins provided an update today on efforts to support West Virginians during the COVID-19 pandemic.

As of yesterday, West Virginians who have exhausted their regular unemployment benefits are able to apply for Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation – a 13-week extension on unemployment benefits provided by the federal CARES Act.

The additional weeks of benefits are available to individuals who have previously collected state and federal unemployment compensation but have exhausted those benefits.

Applicants may apply for the extension at

Adkins also provided a reminder that WorkForce West Virginia will begin paying Pandemic Unemployment Assistance benefits this Friday, May 8.

These benefits are for individuals who normally aren't eligible for regular unemployment compensation or extended benefits under state or federal law like self-employed workers.

Additional unemployment claims continue to be processed as rapidly as possible.


Once again today, Gov. Justice asked all West Virginians to participate in the 2020 United States Census.

“If you could, please, tell anyone and everyone you know to get counted,” Gov. Justice said. “It’s incredibly important for all of us to get counted.”

Every West Virginian who does not respond to the Census represents a loss of $20,000 in federal funds over the next ten 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:


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


Contact Information

Jordan Damron,


Office of the Governor
State Capitol, 1900 Kanawha Blvd. E
Charleston, WV 25305

Office Phone:
304.558.2000 or 1.888.438.2731

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