Office of the Governor
State Capitol, 1900 Kanawha Blvd. E
Charleston, WV 25305
304.558.2000 or 1.888.438.2731
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announces updated County Alert System for school status, nursing
Gov. Jim Justice made a series of changes to the county-by-county
color-coding system that was recently put in place to
communicate the safety status of schools. On Monday, Gov.
Justice updated the thresholds that determined the level of openness
for each Pre-K-12 school in West Virginia.
The updated thresholds are as follows (based on a seven-day rolling
GREEN: 3 and fewer cases per
YELLOW: 3.1 – 9.9 cases per 100,000
ORANGE: 10 –
24.9 cases per 100,000
RED: 25+ cases per 100,000
Then on Friday, Gov. Justice announced that the county-by-county
map is being expanded to include the safety status of nursing homes
and has been updated with an enhancement to its metric calculation
for low-population counties. The West
Virginia COVID-19 Dashboard has been
updated to include a live, interactive map that reflects the color
status of each county in real-time. The map will now be called the
County Alert System and will be used for multiple purposes.
reflecting how schools in each county will operate, nursing homes
across the state will begin using the same green-yellow-orange-red
color scale to notify the public about the status of visitation at
such facilities within each county. For both schools and nursing
homes, Gov. Justice and health experts also announced an
enhancement to the metric calculation that determines each county’s
color. To account for the possibility of outliers in regions with
smaller populations, the metric for counties with fewer than 16,000
residents will be based on the number of new daily cases per
100,000 people on a 14-day rolling average. Meanwhile, the metric
for counties with more than 16,000 residents will still be based on
the number of new daily cases per 100,000 people on a seven-day
Friday, Gov. Justice announced that, at his direction and with the
approval of state medical experts, the Department of Education has
modified its School Re-Entry Protocol. The new protocol requires
face coverings for students in grades 3 and above in various
GREEN: Require face coverings for
grades 3 and above on buses and in congregant settings (outside of
core groups) where social distancing cannot be maintained.
face coverings for grades 3-5 on buses and in congregant settings
(outside of core groups) where social distancing cannot be
maintained. Require face coverings for grades 6 and above at all
face coverings for grades 3 and above at all times.
RED: N/a (In-person instruction
will be canceled if a county reaches red status).
These requirements are in addition to previously
announced protocols for in-person instruction.
hosts Dr. Deborah Birx, White House Coronavirus Response
Coordinator, to discuss West Virginia virus response
his regularly scheduled COVID-19 press briefing Wednesday, Gov.
Justice hosted Dr. Deborah Birx, Coronavirus Response Coordinator
for the White House Coronavirus Task Force, at the West Virginia
Capitol to discuss efforts being made to combat the spread of
COVID-19 and safely reopen the state.
“Dr. Birx, you see her on TV all the time, she is amazing,” Gov.
Justice said. “She has incredible energy and unbelievable
knowledge. She's traveled all across the country. The great work
that she’s doing and her dedication to West Virginia and this
nation is amazing. And I can very proudly say that she was tickled
to death with the things we’re doing in West Virginia.”
interview with members of the media following a roundtable with
state leaders at the Culture Center, Dr. Birx praised West Virginia
for executing an effective virus response. Dr. Birx
specifically commended Gov. Justice and state leaders for developing
what she called a “remarkable” plan to safely reopen schools across
the state. The plan uses a scientific metric to evaluate the safety
level in each county and a color-coded map system to let parents,
students, teachers, and faculty know what precautions will be taken
to ensure the safety of their communities.
“We’re going to put it in our governors report next week and I’m
worried that West Virginia is going to get a call from another 49
governors,” Dr. Birx said. “To really lay out the metrics of where
every county is, making that visible to every single parent, and
linking that to school choice and then very clear guidances of what
to do depending on what your category is."
In an email from the White House Friday, sent to all 50 of the
nation’s governors offices, Dr. Deborah Birx, Coronavirus Response
Coordinator for the White House Coronavirus Task Force,
specifically highlighted Gov. Justice and West Virginia’s County
Alert System as a leading practice for other national leaders to
emulate as they make decisions about their own school re-entry
Vice President Mike Pence hold joint briefing on West Virginia
Justice joined Vice President Mike Pence last Saturday, along with
several other national and state leaders, for a briefing to discuss
efforts being made in West Virginia to combat the spread of
COVID-19 and safely reopen the state.
“Thank you for your leadership during this extraordinarily
challenging time,” Vice President Pence said to Gov. Justice. “I
truly do believe, Governor, that because of your leadership and
because of this team you have assembled and because of the
cooperation of the people of West Virginia, you have saved lives in
Vice President Pence serves as the leader of the White House
Coronavirus Task Force. The Vice President and Gov. Justice were
joined for the briefing by U.S. Senator Shelley Moore Capito,
Congresswoman Carol Miller, Congressman Alex Mooney, United States
Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue, United States Centers for
Medicare & Medicaid Services Administrator Seema Verma, West
Virginia Coronavirus Czar Dr. Clay Marsh, and West Virginia
National Guard Adjutant General Maj. Gen. James Hoyer.
announces drop in West Virginia unemployment rate
briefing Wednesday, Gov. Justice announced that West Virginia's
seasonally adjusted unemployment rate dropped to 9.9% for the month
of July. The national unemployment rate for July was 10.2%. Since
April, when state unemployment levels reached 15.9%, more than
47,000 jobs have been recovered across West Virginia. Before the
pandemic, West Virginia had historic economic growth that led to a
4.7% unemployment rate statewide.
announces expansion in Kids Connect initiative
WVDE Superintendent Clayton Burch reported that Gov. Justice’s Kids
Connect initiative – a joint effort between the Governor’s Office
of Technology, the WVDE, and the Higher Education Policy Commission
to establish over 1,000 free wireless internet access points
statewide by Sept. 8 – is ahead of schedule and has plans to expand
its reach even further than originally anticipated. At the
suggestion of West Virginia National Guard Adjutant General, Maj.
Gen. James Hoyer, the WVDE will add more Kids Connect hotspots at
each of the state’s 20 armories. Superintendent Burch added that
the WVDE’s interactive
map of Kids Connect locations will be
updated with the extra hotspot sites.
adds self-employed, sole proprietors to those eligible to receive
small business grants
Wednesday, Gov. Justice announced that he is opening up his West
Virginia CARES Act Small Business Grant Program to
sole proprietorships and self-employed individuals in West Virginia.
Any sole proprietor or self-employed person, in operation on or
before March 1, 2020, is now able to apply for up to $2,000 in
grant funding. Meanwhile, any West Virginia-based small
business with 1-35 employees, in existence on or before March
1, 2020 is still able to apply for up to $5,000 in grant funding.
Over 2,300 of these applications have been submitted to date, with
more than $9.5 million being awarded so far. Businesses
planning to apply must first be registered as a vendor with the
State to be eligible. Guidelines for the grants and instructions on
how to apply are available at Grants.wv.gov.
The application will remain open until Sept. 30, 2020.
extends Mon County bar closure, announces reopening date
Justice announced that, after one final extension to countywide bar
closure in Monongalia County, these facilities will be able to open
at the end of this month, provided that they adhere to a list of
additional safety guidelines. On Wednesday, Gov.
Justice issued an
executive order, extending the closure of all
bars in Mon County for an additional 11 days. The extension was
requested by West Virginia University and the Monongalia County
Commission, with WVU students returning to campus in Morgantown
this week. The new order extends the countywide bar closure until
Monday, Aug. 31, 2020, at 12:01 a.m. Gov. Justice pledged that this
will stand as the reopening date, barring a major uptick in
case numbers or another unforeseen circumstance and provided that
all safety guidelines are properly followed.
announces funding being sent to volunteer fire departments
Wednesday, Gov. Justice announced that the $4.19 million that he
pledged to support West Virginia's volunteer fire departments
is now ready for distribution. Each of the state's 419 VFDs will
“Our firefighters have all meant so much to us during this
pandemic, but especially the ones who do so on a voluntary basis,”
Gov. Justice said. “I love being able to get this money out
because, at the end of the day, this is going to help us save more
The funds must be used to help pay, specifically, for extraordinary
costs incurred by these volunteer EMS agencies during this
directs Workforce West Virginia to apply for "Lost Wage
Assistance" unemployment insurance funds
Wednesday, Gov. Justice directed WorkForce West Virginia to
apply for the Lost Wages Assistance Payments grant through the
Federal Emergency Management Administration (FEMA). Upon
approval by FEMA, this grant will allow WorkForce West Virginia to
provide an additional $400 per week in assistance payment to those
receiving Unemployment Insurance (UI) benefits due to COVID-related
impacts. FEMA disaster relief funds will cover $300 of the new
weekly payment and the other $100 will come from West Virginia’s
allocation of the federal CARES Act Coronavirus Relief Fund. Lost
Wage Assistance was established after Congress did not reauthorize
the Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation program, which
provided an extra $600 payment to eligible UI claimants.
confirms first case of Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome
Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources confirmed
Thursday that a West Virginia child has been diagnosed with
Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome in Children (MIS-C). This is the
first reported case in West Virginia. According to the Centers for
Disease Control and Prevention, MIS-C is a condition where
different body parts can become inflamed, including the heart,
lungs, kidneys, brain, skin, eyes, or gastrointestinal organs.
Children with MIS-C may have a fever and various symptoms, including
abdominal pain, vomiting, diarrhea, neck pain, rash, bloodshot
eyes, or feeling extra tired. Many children with MIS-C had the
virus that causes COVID-19, or had been exposed to someone with
Superintendent announces school re-entry hotline
Superintendent of Schools Clayton Burch announced Friday that the
West Virginia Department of Education has launched a School
Re-entry Hotline, specifically dedicated to answering any parent,
educator, or citizen’s questions or concerns related to the WVDE’s
plan for returning to school.
The School Re-entry Hotline is available at 304-957-1234.
releases update on retesting efforts at South Central Regional Jail
Virginia Department of Homeland Security announced Tuesday that
retesting at the South Central Regional Jail shows COVID-19 has
been largely contained, with 57 positive and 433 negative results
among inmates and six positive and 84 negative results among staff.
The positive inmates are in just five of the jail’s 24 housing
units, including the two units where cases prompted the second
round of enhanced testing at the facility. None of the positive
inmates required care, as of Tuesday, in the jail’s medical section
or at an outside facility. The positive employees were all
self-quarantining at home.
awards $1.1 million to again ensure the survival of dozens more
West Virginia fairs and festivals
second time in as many weeks, Gov. Justice held a virtual ceremony
Tuesday to award more than a million dollars in grant funds to help
ensure the survival of numerous fairs and festivals across West
Virginia. Gov. Justice awarded 64 additional grants, worth
$1,144,010 from the Governor’s Contingency Fund, to help various
organizations that host fairs, festivals, or similar events bridge
the gap in a year where such events were forced to be canceled due
to the COVID-19 pandemic. Out of the round of additional
funding announced Tuesday, 52 grants, worth a combined amount of
$451,790, were awarded to organizations that normally receive
funding for their fairs and festivals through Preservation WV
Grants. Ten grants, worth a combined amount of $688,220, were
awarded to individual arts line items that were included in the
Fiscal Year 2021 budget. And two grants, worth a combined amount of
$4,000, were awarded to a pair of additional festivals in
announces additional COVID-19 testing locations
Justice updated the schedule of upcoming free community COVID-19
testing events taking place over the next several weeks at various
dates and times in multiple counties across the state.
1:00 PM – 7:00 PM
Weir High School: 100 Red Rider Road, Weirton, WV
10:00 AM – 4:00 PM
Weir High School: 100 Red Rider Road, Weirton, WV
10:00 AM – 6:00 PM
Madison Civic Center: 261 Washington Avenue, Madison, WV
10:00 AM – 3:00 PM
Alum Creek Church of Christ: 2368 Childress Road, Alum Creek, WV
August 28 & Saturday, August 29
9:00 AM – 4:00 PM
Webster County High School: 1 Highlander Drive, Cowen, WV
9:00 AM – 5:00 PM
Webster County High School: 1 Highlander Drive, Cowen, WV
12:00 PM – 8:00 PM
Nazarene Camp: 6461 Webster Road, Summersville, WV
presents $250,000 check to fund upgrades at new One Voice recovery
Gov. Justice awarded a $250,000 check to fund several upgrades to
the building that will house nonprofit organization One Voice’s new
community-based recovery facility in Oceana. One Voice Inc. is
a charity that supports individuals and families struggling with
substance use disorder and other life-controlling issues in
communities in Wyoming County and all across West
Virginia. The new One Voice facility is part of the pilot
project Gov. Justice previously announced for Wyoming County, which
partnered West Virginia DHHR’s Office of Drug Control Policy and
Marshall University to find innovative ways to combat substance
abuse disorder in West Virginia’s most vulnerable
communities. Gov. Justice presented the ceremonial check to
One Voice Executive Director Debra Davis, who established the
nonprofit in 2005.
orders flags to be flown at half-staff in honor of former West
Justice issued a proclamation Monday, ordering all United States
and West Virginia flags at the Capitol Complex and all state-owned
facilities in Wood County be displayed at half-staff, from dawn to
dusk, Tuesday, Aug. 18, 2020, in commemoration of the distinguished
life and service of former West Virginia Delegate Robert T.
Goldenberg. A Parkersburg native and graduate of Parkersburg
High School, Goldenberg represented Wood County in the West
Virginia Legislature as a member of the House of Delegates from
1961-1962. Goldenberg served in the United States Navy as a
minesweeper in combat in the Pacific Theatre, including the
invasion of Okinawa, obtaining the rank of Lieutenant Junior Grade.
Goldenberg practiced law in West Virginia for 69 years. At the
time of his death, he was the oldest practicing lawyer in the
WV DHHR warns
against fraudulent COVID-19 contact tracing calls
Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources released a video
Wednesday warning West Virginians about fraudulent calls concerning
COVID-19 contact tracing. Official contact tracers will not ask for
money, your social security number, or financial information. If
you receive a call and suspect fraud, report it to the WV Attorney
General's Office: 1-800-368-8808.
part in bridge dedication ceremony
the West Virginia National Guard took part in a bridge dedication
ceremony for a former WVARNG member, MSG Richard “Dick” Smoot.
Smoot was a highly decorated green beret who had served in Vietnam,
Iraq, and Afghanistan. He was tragically killed in 2015 by a drunk
driver. The WVNG continues to honor his legacy through this small
token of remembrance in the community.
Virginians urged to participate in the 2020 Census
Gov. Justice asked all West Virginians to participate in the 2020
United States Census. 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.
To date, 84.5 percent of West Virginians have been counted. For
perspective, during the last Census in 2010, the state’s final
response rate was just 74 percent. West Virginians are able to
complete the Census until Sept. 30, 2020.
Be counted in minutes: 2020census.gov.
West Virginia Department of Transportation to
hold virtual public meeting on Nitro-St. Albans I-64 Improvement
Gov. Justice issues Executive Order
concerning Workforce West Virginia employees
WVNG welcomes home additional 150th and 201st
deployed service members
WVNG issues statement on the passing of Maj.
Gen. (Ret.) Allen Tackett
Banner Images Courtesy of the West Virginia Department of Commerce