West Virginia Week in Review - April 10, 2020: COVID-19 Update

4/10/2020

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COVID-19 Response Weekly Update
April 4 - April 10
This week, Gov. Jim Justice and State health leaders continued the fight to slow the spread of novel coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). The Justice Administration is working to keep the public informed of the many measures being taken in the interest of protecting them from the spread of the disease.

Additional information about COVID-19 and what West Virginia is doing to combat the virus can be found on Coronavirus.wv.gov or by calling the state's 24/7 hotline at 1-800-887-4304. 
WV COVID-19 Newsroom WV COVID-19 Newsroom
Friday, April 10: Gov. Justice announces hero pay for front line workers; adds four counties to executive order
Governor Jim Justice said Friday that West Virginians continue to do an excellent job of slowing the spread of COVID-19 and asked them to continue to take precautions as the state nears the peak of the pandemic.

Dr. Clay Marsh, COVID-19 Czar, reported that projections now reflect that the number of deaths have dropped from initial reports of around 500 to a new count of 74.

Gov. Justice also announced that each of West Virginia’s 55 counties will receive a grant in the amount of $100,000 to utilize at their discretion to reward “hero pay” for the various front line personnel and first responders involved in the effort.
Gov. Justice also announced on Friday that a grant will be given to the West Virginia National Guard to issue $500 to each member that has been activated to serve during the pandemic.

A letter to President Donald J. Trump was prepared by Gov. Justice just prior to Friday’s briefing and in it, he is seeking the authority to use some of the $1.25 billion in funds from the federal CARES Act to “reward first responders and other front line workers that have been putting in countless hours” as well.

Gov. Justice signed an Executive Order adding Cabell, Ohio, Wayne, and Wood counties to the list of community clusters for the spread of the virus. The order gives local health departments in those counties the authority to further restrict and tighten rules on social distancing and essential services. 
Gov. Justice announced that 24 staff members from the Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Management, five State Troopers and 60 temporary employees are being hired and will begin working Monday to assist Workforce West Virginia and the West Virginia National Guard in continuing to handle the massive number of claims that have and continue to be filed.

The West Virginia National Guard has completed 310 missions since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic in the state. Nearly 570 members of the West Virginia National Guard are on duty serving the citizens of the State of West Virginia.
Gov. Justice also addressed the need for protective medical equipment at nursing homes across West Virginia and announced that the former Fairmont Regional Medical Center is being looked at as a potential surge hospital if needed during the COVID-19 pandemic.
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Thursday, April 9: Gov. Justice reports encouraging numbers again but warns citizens to not relax
Gov. Jim Justice reported Thursday that positive test results for COVID-19 in the state remain under four percent, but cautioned residents to stay the course and keep social distancing.

Gov. Justice also announced the state's fifth COVID-19 related death, an 89-year-old female resident of the Sundale Nursing Home in Morgantown. No additional information was released in order to protect the individuals privacy.
Gov. Justice also issued an Executive Order mandating that all private and public golf courses follow proper cleaning protocols and take additional steps to ensure proper social distancing, including allowing just one individual per golf cart except for individuals that live together.

The West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources and the West Virginia National Guard are now reporting the health status of COVID-19 positive patients. The goal is to provide West Virginians with as much information about the pandemic as possible and keep the state's COVID-19 dashboard up to date with crucial information.

The West Virginia National Guard has completed 280 missions since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic and has nearly 560 members on duty serving the citizens of the State of West Virginia.
Gov. Justice applauded a team effort to deliver multiple truckloads of hospital beds and other needed equipment from the former Fairmont Regional Medical Center to St. Francis Hospital in Charleston, for a planned alternative care site to expand West Virginia’s capabilities.

The Division of Highways, West Virginia State Police, Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management, and Division of Corrections and Rehabilitation together supplied a half-dozen trucks.
On Thursday, Gov. Justice also warned West Virginians about potential scams circulating as the government prepares to issue economic impact checks. He urged citizens to avoid providing personal and bank account information to individuals via email, phone call and social media. 

Gov. Justice also stressed the importance of filling out the 2020 Census as West Virginia depends on population counts to secure federal dollars for schools, roads, and other important programs. 
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Wednesday, April 8: Gov. Justice issues Executive Order for Marion County; says numbers still trending for state to keep spread of COVID-19 to a minimum
Gov. Jim Justice issued an Executive Order on Wednesday to include Marion County, along with six other West Virginia counties, as designated areas where local Health Department officials have broader powers to tighten restrictions and prevent further spread of COVID-19.

Marion County, located between Harrison and Monongalia Counties, reported an increased number of cases which prompted the decision by Gov. Justice.
Dr. Clay Marsh, COVID-19 Czar for the state, encouraged West Virginians to continue efforts to limit the spread of the virus. He added that staying physically separated and staying at home will have its greatest effect in West Virginia during the next eight to 14 days.

Gov. Justice also announced that despite the COVID-19 pandemic, foster parents are still greatly needed throughout West Virginia. With over 7,000 youth in foster care in West Virginia, it is imperative that the state continue to recruit and certify families to meet this need.

The majority of foster care agencies in West Virginia are able to offer online services, including interactive training, applications, interviews and other important pieces of the certification process.

More information on foster care recruiting can be found here 
The West Virginia National Guard announced that 540 members are serving the State of West Virginia through four lines of effort to including operationalizing of the event, stabilizing the population, providing logistical movement of critical supplies and conducting data analysis to combat the virus.

The Governor also announced that schools and career technical education centers are assisting in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic by donating more than 65,000 protective items to healthcare workers and first responders.
Also on Wednesday, Gov. Jim Justice announced that two West Virginia companies were awarded construction bids for major Roads To Prosperity projects in Marshall and Roane counties.

Those projects include the Scott Miller Hill Road bypass project in Roane County and work to improve West Virginia Route 2 in Marshall County.
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Tuesday, April 7: Gov. Justice tells West Virginians to keep doing the things that will “cripple” the coronavirus
Gov. Jim Justice said on Tuesday that West Virginians continue to take the right steps to slow the spread of COVID-19. He encouraged residents to continue practicing good hygiene, safe social distancing and staying home as much as possible.

The Governor also reported that the backlog of unemployment claims being filed with Workforce West Virginia is being quickly addressed thanks to the continued hard work of Workforce employees and the West Virginia National Guard.

Also on Tuesday, the West Virginia National Guard announced that nearly 520 Soldiers and Airmen on duty supporting COVID-19 response efforts across the state. Those efforts include increasing capacity for the state to process unemployment claims and provide additional call centers throughout West Virginia.  
Dr. Clay Marsh, COVID-19 Czar for West Virginia, said Tuesday that officials are preparing to handle patients in the state that need hospitalization for treatment of COVID-19 while making sure healthcare workers are outfitted with the appropriate protective gear.

West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources Secretary Bill Crouch reported that West Virginia is positioned well as the pandemic continues and said that Gov. Justice made decisions early on that many saw as unnecessary but now are now seen as critical and essential to fighting this disease.

State Health Officer Dr. Cathy Slemp told residents that it is important to recognize that not everyone with symptoms needs to be tested and that 80 percent of people that get the virus will have mild to moderate conditions that can be treated accordingly and managed from home. 
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Monday, April 6: Gov. Justice says we “will remain as aggressive as possible to save as many lives as we possibly can” in face of COVID-19
On Monday, Gov. Jim Justice announced that the state continues to make the right decisions to limit the spread of COVID-19 and assured residents that every effort is being made to save lives. 

He also confirmed the state’s fourth death attributed to COVID-19, an 85-year-old male from Harrison County with underlying conditions. 

The Governor announced that a positive test result had been confirmed at Eastbrook Center Nursing Home in Charleston and that a Workforce West Virginia employee also tested positive for the virus.
Gov. Justice announced that Workforce West Virginia, with assistance from the West Virginia National Guard, was officially operating their call center 24/7 with additional personnel at various locations so that the phone calls and backlog of claims are being addressed.

The West Virginia National Guard announced that 500 Soldiers and Airmen are on duty supporting COVID-19 response efforts across the state. Those efforts include meal distribution to students, assistance with unemployment claims and tracking the spread of COVID-19.
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.
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Saturday, April 4: Gov. Justice expands Executive Order to additional counties to further protect West Virginians
Late Saturday night Gov. Jim Justice announced that he signed an Executive Order for Monongalia, Harrison, and Kanawha counties as COVID-19 continues to spread. This Executive Order expanded an order issued on Friday for Berkeley, Jefferson, and Morgan counties.

Provisions of the Executive Order include:
  • Limiting groups to a maximum of 5 people.
  • Directing ALL businesses to require employees to work from home to the maximum extent possible. 
  • Directing the Local Health Departments to establish the maximum occupancy of and proper social distance within essential businesses and taking action to enforce these health regulations. 
  • Directing the West Virginia National Guard to provide logistical support and services to assist county agencies.
  • Directing the West Virginia State Police to assist with enforcement of local county orders.
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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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