West Virginia Week in Review - June 6, 2020: COVID-19 Update


​COVID-19 Response Weekly Update
May 30 – June 5
Week 6 of Gov. Jim Justice's reopening plan – West Virginia Strong – The Comeback – is now underway and announcements regarding future reopenings have been made. The Governor's new Safer At Home order is also in effect. Click on the links to read more:

Additional information about COVID-19 and what West Virginia is doing to combat the virus can be found on Coronavirus.wv.gov.

A list of all of Gov. Justice's actions and executive orders related to COVID-19 are also available online. 
Friday, June 5: Gov. Justice signs Executive Order formalizing June 8 reopenings
On Friday, Gov. Justice announced that casinos and movie theaters are officially permitted to reopen in West Virginia.

"This marks the first day that these establishments are allowed to reopen," Gov. Justice said. "We strongly urge that both the businesses and individuals take every necessary step to stay safe. This includes proper handwashing and staying a safe distance from one another." 

Both casinos and movie theaters must ensure that proper safety guidelines are being followed. 
On Friday, Gov. Justice announced that he has signed an executive order that will formally allow activities currently scheduled to reopen on June 8 to resume operations if they so choose.

Approved activity reopenings for June 8 include:   
  • Low-contact outdoor youth sports
  • WVSSAC-sanctioned athletics and band summer training programs
  • Little league sports practices
  • All remaining adult sports facilities including indoor tennis courts, racquetball courts, outdoor basketball courts, and similar venues
Safety guidance for low-contact sports, along with further guidelines from the WVSSAC, are available online. 
Gov. Justice also offered a reminder that free community COVID-19 testing would be provided today, Saturday, June 6, in Harrison, McDowell, and Ohio counties.

The effort is part of a plan to provide free optional testing to all residents in several counties that are experiencing higher rates of COVID-19 transmission. It targets residents who have struggled to be seen by a physician or do not have insurance to pay for testing. However, other residents, including those who are asymptomatic are welcome to be tested.

Testing is scheduled to take place from 9 a.m. until 4 p.m. at the following locations:

Harrison County
Saturday, June 6

Monticello Playground, 518 Monticello Avenue, Clarksburg, WV 26201

Ohio County
Saturday, June 6
Laughlin Chapel, 129 ½ 18th Street, Wheeling, WV 26003

McDowell County
Saturday, June 6
City Hall, 32509 Coal Heritage Road, Keystone, WV 24852

Click here to read more
The Governor also reminded West Virginians that the next round of community testing will be provided next weekend in Grant, Greenbrier, Hampshire, Hancock, Hardy, Logan, and Wood counties.

The testing will be offered at various times and locations as listed below:

Grant County
Saturday, June 13
10 a.m. – 4 p.m.
EA Hawse Health Center, 64 Hospital Drive #5, Petersburg, WV 26847

Greenbrier County
Friday, June 12 and Saturday, June 13
9 a.m. – 4 p.m. 
Dorie Miller Park, 2300 Rosewood Avenue, Co Route 32/1, Lewisburg, WV 24901

Hampshire County
Saturday, June 13
10 a.m. – 4 p.m. 
EA Hawse Health Center, 22338 North Western Turnpike, Romney, WV 26757

Hancock County
Friday, June 12 and Saturday, June 13
10 a.m. – 4 p.m. 
Weirton Event Center, 3322 East Street, Weirton, WV  26062

Hardy County (three locations)
Saturday, June 13
10 a.m. – 4 p.m.
EA Hawse Health Center, 17978 WV 55, Baker, WV 26801
EA Hawse Health Center, 8 Lee Street #127, Moorefield, WV 26836
EA Hawse Health Center, 106 Harold K. Michael Drive, Mathias, WV 26812

Logan County
Friday, June 12 and Saturday, June 13
9 a.m. – 4 p.m.
Cora Volunteer Fire Department, 28 Aldridge Branch, Logan, WV 25601 

Wood County
Time(s) and location(s) to be determined

Click to read more: Grant, Hampshire, and Hardy counties
Click to read more: Greenbrier, Hancock, Logan, and Wood counties
Gov. Justice also provided an update from the WV Division of Corrections and Rehabilitation on the Enhanced Testing initiative ordered by Gov. Justice last week.

The Division of Corrections tested 15 facilities in three days with nearly 3,300 inmates and juvenile residents, and more than 1,700 employees receiving tests.

View all testing results here
The Governor once again offered a reminder that the State recently sent out the application for cities and counties throughout West Virginia to apply for funding through the federal CARES Act.

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. 
Once again, 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.

Be counted in minutes: 2020census.gov. 
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Thursday, June 4: Gov. Justice provides update on fairs and festivals; increases public gathering limit
On Thursday, Gov. Justice announced that fairs and festivals will be permitted to resume on July 1, provided that all guidelines are followed to help keep West Virginians as safe as possible.

“We understand the important role that fairs and festivals play in West Virginia communities but we have to have some level of strict guidelines in place,” Gov. Justice said. “Those guidelines may be reduced at a later time, but for now we have to do everything in our power to hold these events as safely as we possibly can.”

Guidance documents will be provided on The Comeback page of the Governor's website as soon as possible. 
Also on Thursday, Gov. Justice announced that public gatherings will be permitted to increase from 25 to 100 individuals effective at 12 a.m. on June 5, 2020. 

"Our medical experts have advised that we can go forward with this action," Gov. Justice said. "We will continue watching those numbers closely but we want people to go about their lives as normally and safely as they possibly can."

Safe social distancing in public settings is still strongly encouraged.

Gov. Justice issued an Executive Order Thursday formally allowing for the increase in public gathering size. 
Also Thursday, Gov. Justice announced that, through a multi-agency effort between the West Virginia National Guard (WVNG), the West Virginia Department of Education, the West Virginia Bureau of Senior Services, the West Virginia Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster (WV VOAD), and the United Way, an interactive free-feeding location map is now available to all West Virginians. 

"There are nearly 600 sites across the state of West Virginia ready to assist you with any help you may need in terms of food," Gov. Justice said. "West Virginia is knocking it out of the park with this and we are doing great work to make sure all of our people are taken care of."

If feeding locations aren't available in some communities, individuals are encouraged to call 211 for further assistance. 
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Wednesday, June 3: Gov. Justice provides reopening date for campgrounds to out-of-state guests
On Wednesday, Gov. Justice announced that private and state park campgrounds, along with state park lodges and cabins, will be allowed to reopen to out-of-state guests beginning next Wednesday, June 10, provided that all additional guidelines are followed to help keep West Virginians as safe as possible.

The Governor announced that one of the restrictions will be that out-of-state guests will be limited to stays of no longer than seven days.

“We always want people to experience all of the beauty and adventure West Virginia has to offer,” Gov. Justice said. “But we surely don't want people coming here from out-of-state and just taking up some level of permanency in our state parks. That’s not what we’re looking for right now.”

Further guidance will be provided on The Comeback page of the Governor's website as soon as possible. 
Gov. Justice also announced Wednesday that new safety guidelines for bingo halls are now also available online. 
Acting Commissioner of WorkForce West Virginia Scott Adkins joined Gov. Justice Wednesday to provide an update on the spike in unemployment claims seen since the start of the pandemic.

Adkins reported that, in the past 10 weeks alone, WorkForce West Virginia has received a total of 250,000 unemployment claims.

“Just to put that in perspective, all of 2019, we took 46,862 claims,” Adkins said. “So, in just the past 10 weeks, we’ve taken five times more claims than we did the entire year of 2019.”

Adkins said that WorkForce has paid out more than $701 million in unemployment benefits in the past 10 weeks.

Adkins also added that, as the number of claims has risen dramatically over the past two-and-a-half months, so too has the amount of fraud. He encouraged any West Virginians suspicious of fraudulent activity to call 1-800-379-1032 or visit WorkForceWV.org. 
During Wednesday’s press briefing, Maj. Gen. James Hoyer, Adjutant General of the West Virginia National Guard, reminded citizens that a hoax continues to make its rounds in our state and that the information is false.

The flyer has been identified in the eastern panhandle of the state and has also been circulated widely on social media platforms and falsely describes a “mobilization of National Guard forces by FEMA and Homeland Security.”

“It is exceptionally important that the people of West Virginia pay particular attention to the information they see and what they share, especially on social media, where rogue actors peddle in misinformation campaigns,” said Hoyer. “The entire goal of these groups –whether they be from Russia, China, or elsewhere – is to stoke fear and panic while undermining the positive work being conducted by our service members across the Nation.”

Click here to read more
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Tuesday, June 2: Gov. Justice reports West Virginia has set the national standard for nursing home testing
More than six weeks after Gov. Justice made West Virginia the first state in the nation to order the testing of all nursing home residents and employees statewide, Gov. Justice announced Tuesday that leaders with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) sent a letter to governors in all 50 states across America, calling on them to focus their COVID-19 testing efforts on nursing homes and other vulnerable communities. 

Gov. Justice’s directive for the full testing of the state’s nursing homes came on April 17, 2020 – 44 days before the letter was sent.

Click here to view the letter

“I’ve already written on the letter ‘already done,’” Gov. Justice said. “Remember West Virginia, you were the first to do it. We ran to the fire. I commend all those that were involved in helping us pull off all that testing. I’m proud of you, West Virginia.” 
During his remarks Tuesday, Maj. Gen. James Hoyer, Adjutant General of the West Virginia National Guard, announced that the WVNG recently supported the West Virginia State Police by helping test all cadets returning to the academy for training.

Maj. Gen. Hoyer reported that 75 cadets and staff members from 24 counties across the state were tested. All of these tests came back negative. 
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Monday, June 1: Gov. Justice announces full COVID-19 testing results at Huttonsville correctional facility
On Monday, Gov. Justice provided an update on COVID-19 testing at Huttonsville Correctional Center and Jail in Randolph County, announcing that tests were completed on all 1,089 inmates and employees.

View the latest testing numbers here.
Also Monday, Gov. Justice announced that general revenue collections of $296.8 million for the month of May were $37.7 million below original estimates, but nearly $33.7 million above initial expectations of reduced revenue associated with the COVID-19 pandemic.

“When we originally looked at this pandemic and projected out what was going to happen, we anticipated that, by the end of the year, we’d be $500 million upside down,” Gov. Justice said. “But we have done far better with our May revenue collections than we thought we were going to do.”

Additionally, the Governor reported that income wage and salary withholding tax collections were $18 million above reduced expectations for the month and sales tax collections were $14.5 million ahead of reduced expectations for the month. 
During his remarks Monday, Secretary Bill Crouch of the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources announced that Sundale Nursing and Rehabilitation Center in Monongalia County, the location of the first positive case of COVID-19 seen in West Virginia’s nursing home community, is now free of any cases of the virus.

“I responded with a congratulations and thanking them for what they did and their response was to thank Governor Justice,” Sec. Crouch said. “On March 23, the Governor activated the National Guard to go up and test patients and employees.

“We thank the Governor for his immediate response to this and facilitating the testing of the people we needed to test to keep this outbreak to a minimum.” 
Additionally Monday, State Health Officer and Bureau for Public Health Commissioner Dr. Cathy Slemp announced that 3,371 individuals were tested for COVID-19 last week as part of the latest round of free community testing.

Dr. Slemp also announced that results from previous rounds of community testing efforts in other regions have been tabulated and are now available to view online: 
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Gov. Justice announces State's commitment to Wheeling Streetscape Project
On Friday, Gov. Justice joined West Virginia Department of Transportation (WVDOT) Secretary Byrd White, Deputy Secretary Jimmy Wriston, P.E., State Senator Ryan Weld and Wheeling Mayor Glenn F. Elliott, Jr. to express the State’s commitment to the Wheeling Streetscape Project. 

The approximately $25 million project is a partnership between the WVDOT and the City of Wheeling that will upgrade West Virginia Route 2 on both Main Street and Market Street in the City of Wheeling. Improvements include repaving the streets, upgrading sidewalks and curb ramps to be ADA accessible, as well as installing new traffic signals. 
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Gov. Justice announces award of Oakwood Road project
On Wednesday, Gov. Justice announced that he had approved the award of the contract for the upcoming Oakwood Intersection Improvement Project at the intersection of Oakwood Road and U.S. 119 in Kanawha County to Mountaineer Contractors, Inc., from Kingwood, with a bid of $5,852,067.80.

The project will involve establishing a Restricted Crossing U-Turn – commonly known as an “R-CUT” – in the area to improve safety and decrease traffic light wait times.

The Department of Transportation originally brought Gov. Justice an initial project design estimated to cost $30 million. After the Governor asked Transportation leaders to take a harder look at the project, they re-engineered it utilizing the R-CUT concept. As a result, the new design will save the State more than $24 million. 
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Gov. Justice announces Amsted Industries investment in West Virginia
On Tuesday, Gov. Justice announced that Amsted Industries had become the majority owner of Advanced Graphite Materials, located in Clarksburg. Amsted Industries will expand the production of synthetic graphite at the existing site, enabling U.S. companies to access a domestic, high-grade graphite material for use in products such as electric vehicle batteries and missile systems.

This new venture ensures a domestic supply chain for synthetic graphite for critical sectors of the U.S. economy. Amsted plans to increase synthetic graphite production at the site in the coming years, generating jobs and creating the first fully-integrated producer of anode grade materials based in the United States. 
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Gov. Justice announces school groundbreakings in Richwood and Summersville in Nicholas County
On Monday, Gov. Justice announced that construction on three new schools in Nicholas County was officially underway.

Groundbreakings were held at the sites of the new Richwood Pre-K–12 facility, the new Summersville Middle School, and the new comprehensive Nicholas County High School.

The new Richwood Pre-K–12 facility includes a major renovation to Cherry River Elementary, which will serve students in grades Pre-K–5 as well as the addition of a new Richwood Middle-High School, which will be attached and serve students in grades 6-12.

The new Summersville Middle School will serve area students in grades 6-8 and the new comprehensive Nicholas County High School will include a Career & Technical Center and be attached to the new middle school facility.

The total cost for all of the projects is $177 million, including both federal and State funds. 
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Gov. Justice announces $13.8 million in grant funding for water/sewer and broadband projects across West Virginia
On Wednesday, Gov. Justice and West Virginia Department of Commerce Secretary Ed Gaunch held a virtual ceremony to award 17 grants, worth $13,844,958 in federal Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funds, which have been dedicated to various water/sewer and broadband infrastructure projects across West Virginia.

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) provides CDBG funds to West Virginia annually. The Community Advancement and Development Division of the West Virginia Development Office manages these funds.

Of the total amount, more than $11.1 million has been awarded for water and sewer projects in various counties and municipalities, which will benefit nearly 10,000 West Virginians. The remaining $2.7 million will go toward broadband projects, which will benefit a wide range of residents across nine counties. 
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Gov. Justice recommends projects worth $11.7 million for West Virginia's Appalachian Regional Commission Investment Program
On Thursday, Gov. Justice and Sec. Gaunch recommended 12 projects, totaling over $11.7 million in grants from the Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) Investment Program.

The West Virginia Development Office administers the state’s ARC program, which is a partnership of federal, state, and local participants providing financial and technical assistance for economic development and infrastructure projects. 
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Gov. Justice awards $7.4 million in Transportation Alternatives and Recreational Trails Program grants across West Virginia
On Monday, Gov. Justice and West Virginia Department of Transportation (WVDOT) Secretary Byrd White awarded 38 Transportation Alternatives and Recreational Trails Program grants, worth $7,414,975 in total, for projects in 27 West Virginia counties.

The West Virginia Transportation Alternatives and Recreational Trails Program is administered by the WVDOT and funded by the Federal Highway Administration. These grants help towns and cities build and improve sidewalks, lighting, and rail trails. 
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Gov. Justice provides update on future of Minor League Baseball in West Virginia
On Thursday, Gov. Justice announced that he received positive news from the Major League Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred about the future of minor league baseball in West Virginia. 

"I am very confident to say that minor league baseball will continue in West Virginia next season," Gov. Jim Justice said. "There's still a lot of work to be done, but I remain hopeful that all four of our minor league teams will remain active in the Mountain State."

Gov. Justice began talks with the MLB Commissioner in 2019. 
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EDUCATION: WVDE partnership sends 200,000 books to children

EDUCATION: Three finalists interviewed for State Superintendent of Schools

WV NATIONAL GUARD: Food assistance during pandemic nears 325,000 meals

WV NATIONAL GUARD: Mountaineer ChalleNGe Academy ongoing despite COVID-19 pandemic

WV NATIONAL GUARD: RISE West Virginia program continues progress through COVID-19 pandemic

DMV: Appointments now being offered at several regional offices

FISHING: Bowden Hatchery Fishing Derby canceled

WILDLIFE: Tips for avoiding nuisance bears in the woods

HUNTING: Tips for introducing your kids to shooting sports

ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION: Applications being accepted for 2020 grant funding for economic development of abandoned mine lands

Contact Information

Jordan Damron, Jordan.L.Damron@wv.gov


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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