COVID-19 UPDATE: Gov. Justice issues executive order updating and clarifying several COVID-19 regulations

4/19/2021

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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 UPDATING AND CLARIFYING SEVERAL COVID-19 REGULATIONS
Gov. Justice announced Monday that he signed Executive Order 12-21, clarifying which previous executive orders pertaining to the COVID-19 pandemic remain in effect and which do not, while also updating certain regulations

“Throughout the past year, I have signed a total of 91 executive orders to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic,” Gov. Justice said during his COVID-19 briefing on Monday. “These orders were absolutely necessary to keep our people safe, keep our businesses afloat, and keep us on the right track to beat this virus. As a result, we have led the nation over and over. But, it can be confusing for the public to keep track of all the different orders.

“So today, I am signing a new executive order that’s cleaning up and doing away with a great, great many of the executive orders that have been in place,” Gov. Justice continued. “There was a lot of stuff that was very valuable when we put it in that has now outlived its time, and now it’s time to move forward.”
As part of his executive order, Gov. Justice announced that he has removed the limitation on the number of people permitted to gather for purely social purposes.

The Governor also announced that his executive order adds an additional exemption to the Statewide Indoor Face Covering Requirement so that, if you are actively engaged in physical activity like indoor sports, you do not need to wear a face covering.

“This order will also reinstate some requirements for unemployment benefits that we waived early on during the pandemic,” Gov. Justice said. “We need to put these requirements back so we can get back to work.

“I am also leaving in place the requirement that all healthcare facilities and providers in our state remain vigilant with plans for surge capacity and PPE in case we ever need it again,” Gov. Justice continued, adding that several additional orders suspending regulations to make access to health care, business licensure, and other aspects of life easier will also remain in effect.
STATE HEALTH LEADERS SPOTLIGHT MENTAL HEALTH RESOURCES
Additionally Monday, DHHR Secretary Bill Crouch took time during his remarks to remind West Virginians of the importance of mental health, with the COVID-19 pandemic now in its 14th month.

“This is a difficult time for everyone,” Sec. Crouch said. “It is crucial that we take care of our mental health and help our family and our friends with regard to mental health. Physical distancing does not mean we stop supporting each other. Reach out to family, friends, and loved ones and check in; make sure they’re all right.”
“Providing social support and making connections is especially important in addressing the feelings of isolation that many people have had during this pandemic,” Sec. Crouch continued. “Talk to your healthcare provider about your mental health concerns, especially if you are experiencing acute stress that is getting in the way of daily activities several days in a row.”

West Virginians can call or text 1-877-HELP-304 (1-877-435-7304) or chat online at www.HELP304.com to receive free help from trained crisis counselors who can listen to concerns, help sort out emotions, and provide connections to community resources.
VACCINE DISTRIBUTION UPDATE
Also on Monday, Gov. Justice announced that West Virginia has now successfully administered 1,162,079 vaccine doses after receiving a total allotment of 1,352,250 doses from the federal government to date; an overall administration rate of 85.9%.

To date, 681,790 West Virginians have received at least one dose of vaccine, while 508,089 West Virginians have been fully vaccinated.

West Virginia COVID-19 Dashboard (Click “Vaccine Summary” tab)
Vaccinations are now available to all West Virginians age 16 and older. However, West Virginians who are age 65 and older will continue to be prioritized first until all state residents in this age range who desire the vaccine have been vaccinated.

To date, a total of 476,720 vaccine doses have been administered to West Virginians age 65 and older.

At the Governor’s direction, the Joint Interagency Task Force (JIATF) has established three fixed-location vaccination clinics in Berkeley, Kanawha, and Monongalia counties to ensure that every West Virginian age 65 and older has access to a vaccine.

All West Virginians age 65 and older are urged to pre-register for an appointment by visiting vaccinate.wv.gov or calling the West Virginia Vaccine Info Line: 1-833-734-0965. The info line is open Monday-Friday from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Saturday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Vaccinations also continue to be made available at Walgreens locations, the Med Shoppe/Leader network of pharmacies, Walmart locations, and additional independent pharmacies throughout the state as part of the federal pharmacy partnership in West Virginia.

West Virginians can go to vaccinefinder.org for assistance in locating and securing an appointment at one of these federal pharmacy partners.
The JIATF continues to reach out to manufacturers and businesses across the state to increase vaccine access for employees and their families choosing to be vaccinated by organizing vaccination clinics at these facilities.

Additionally, church leaders are still being urged to contact the JIATF for help organizing vaccination clinics for interested members of their congregations.

Anyone interested in organizing one of these vaccination clinics is asked to contact the West Virginia Vaccine Info Line: 1-833-734-0965.
COVID-19 CASE NUMBERS UPDATE
Additionally Monday, Gov. Justice reported that the current number of active cases in the state is now 7,388, up from 7,272 as of his previous COVID-19 briefing on Friday last week.

The number of active hospitalizations in West Virginia is now 232, down from 234 on Friday last week. Of those currently hospitalized, 60 are in the ICU, up from 57 on Friday last week.

The cumulative percent of positive cases remains 5.21%.

Click here to view the latest COVID-19 data
MONDAY MAP UPDATE
Also on Monday, Gov. Justice provided a look at West Virginia’s latest mid-week County Alert System map update.

The map is updated live on the DHHR’s COVID-19 Dashboard (Click "County Alert System" tab) throughout the week.

Red counties: 1
Orange counties: 10
Gold counties: 5
Yellow counties: 14
Green counties: 25
OUTBREAK REPORT
Additionally Monday, Gov. Justice reported that there are now five active church-related outbreaks in West Virginia, up from four such outbreaks as of his previous COVID-19 briefing on Friday last week. The active outbreaks are located in Berkeley, Fayette, Grant, and Nicholas counties and account for a total of a total of 60 cases, up from 57 on Friday last week.

There are now 11 active outbreaks in long-term care facilities across the state, up from 10 such outbreaks on Friday last week.

The Governor also reported that there are now 61 inmate cases across the West Virginia Division of Corrections and Rehabilitation (DCR) system, down from 67 on Friday last week. Meanwhile, there remain seven active staff cases across the DCR system. To view the latest DCR case update, click here.
AGGRESSIVE TESTING CONTINUES ACROSS STATE
Also on Monday, Gov. Justice provided an overview of the 53 counties across the state that have free testing events scheduled through the Governor’s Aggressive Testing initiative.
This testing is available to all residents, 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.

An interactive online map of all free testing locations across West Virginia is available online. Users can filter the map by type of testing site, including daily testing events, recurring testing events, as well as Walgreens and Fruth Pharmacy testing locations. Users can also filter by county. Each location is marked on the map with a pin. After finding a testing location nearby, users are able to click on the pin for more information about that particular testing site, including the specific location and timeframe during which testing will be held.

Click here to view all locations, dates, times, and more details
ALL BUSINESSES MUST CONTINUE TO FOLLOW COVID-19 SAFETY GUIDELINES
Additionally Monday, Gov. Justice took time to provide a reminder that all businesses in West Virginia must continue to follow all applicable COVID-19 safety guidelines.

Click here to view all active guidance documents
FACE COVERING REQUIREMENT REMAINS IN EFFECT
Also on Monday, Gov. Justice provided a reminder that his Statewide Indoor Face Covering Requirement remains in effect.

All West Virginians age 9 and older to wear a face covering at all times inside all indoor public places, regardless of whether or not they are able to maintain proper social distance. The order requires that all businesses and organizations that invite the public into their facilities must post adequate signage advising guests of the requirement and are also responsible for enforcing the requirement to ensure it is being followed.

Click here to read more details about the face covering requirement

Posters are available on the DHHR’s online Face Covering Toolkit for businesses or organizations to print and display. Social media graphics are also available for download and use by the general public.
DONATE BLOOD AND PLASMA
Additionally Monday, Gov. Justice once again encouraged all West Virginians to consider donating blood and plasma through the American Red Cross.

Those fully recovered from a verified COVID-19 diagnosis may have plasma in their blood containing COVID-19 antibodies that can attack this virus. This plasma may be able to be used as a treatment for currently ill COVID-19 patients.

For more information, visit redcross.org or call the local American Red Cross offices at 304-340-3650.
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.
Additional media content, including video clips and/or photos from this event, will be posted on the Governor's Office website as they become available. You can find a link on the thumbnail image at the top of this press release.
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Jordan Damron, jordan.l.damron@wv.gov

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