West Virginia Week in Review - November 21, 2020

11/21/2020

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Gov. Justice: State prepared for efficient vaccine distribution
Following Friday’s announcement by pharmaceutical company Pfizer that they are seeking emergency use authorization by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for their new COVID-19 vaccine, Gov. Jim Justice announced during Friday’s briefing that state officials in West Virginia have been preparing for months and are ready to implement an efficient vaccine distribution plan the moment that a vaccine is approved.

“Our Vaccine Advisory Council has been working on this since August, the National Guard has been heading this up, doing incredible work led by General Hoyer and his people,” Gov. Justice said. “As soon as this vaccine is available, we will absolutely be ready to distribute it in West Virginia.”

Last month, Gov. Justice announced that state officials had completed and submitted West Virginia’s COVID-19 Vaccination Plan to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for review and approval.
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Gov. Justice unveils new interactive online map of free COVID-19 testing sites
On Friday, Gov. Justice announced that a new online map of all free COVID-19 testing locations across West Virginia has been launched on the state’s COVID-19 website. Users can filter the map by type of testing site, including daily testing events, recurring testing events, and pharmacy testing locations. 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 interactive map of free COVID-19 testing sites
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Gov. Justice announces success in Executive Order to increase assisted living testing
On Friday, Gov. Justice announced that, one week after issuing an executive order, requiring that all doctors, nurses, staff, and employees working at nursing homes and assisted living facilities throughout the state be tested for COVID-19 twice a week, asymptomatic positive cases have been found in 11 such facilities across West Virginia.

“That’s 11 potential outbreaks we prevented from turning into really bad situations,” Gov. Justice said. “That’s good work by a lot of people there.”
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Gov. Justice: Record week for COVID-19 testing in West Virginia
On Friday, Gov. Justice announced that in the past seven days alone, 91,237 West Virginians have taken advantage of the free COVID-19 testing opportunities, setting a one-week state record.

“On Wednesday, we tested an all-time single-day high of 17,180 West Virginians,” Gov. Justice said. “This is an incredible increase from a month ago. A month ago, remember, I was pleading with you to go get tested, and we just kept going along at 2,000 or 3,000 people per day. We didn’t really take heed at the time. Now, at least, we’re doing it."
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Gov. Justice reminds West Virginians of updated face covering requirement
During Monday’s briefing, Gov. Justice provided a reminder that his broadened Statewide Indoor Face Covering Requirement officially went into effect last weekend. The new order requires all West Virginians age 9 and older to wear a face covering at all times inside all indoor public places. This differs from the Governor’s initial indoor face covering requirement, which allowed masks to be removed in such places if adequate social distancing could be maintained. Under the new order, that exception no longer exists. The new order also 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.

As a result, Gov. Justice announced Monday that posters are now 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.
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Gov. Justice announces West Virginia’s unemployment rate drops for the sixth consecutive month; now lower than national average
Gov. Justice announced Tuesday that West Virginia’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for the month of October dropped more than two percentage points to 6.4 percent. The number of unemployed state residents decreased by 18,100. October marked the sixth consecutive month of improving unemployment numbers in West Virginia. The national unemployment rate decreased to 6.9 percent in October, meaning West Virginia’s jobs rate is currently better than the national average.
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Gov. Justice announces Gruppo Fanti to open first U.S. manufacturing plant in Weirton, creating 40 new full-time jobs
Gov. Justice announced Wednesday that Gruppo Fanti, a metal packaging manufacturing company headquartered in Bologna, Italy, will open its first U.S.-based plant in Weirton. The new plant will initially create 40 new full-time jobs and Gruppo Fanti plans to invest $30 million into the Brooke County operation. Fanti Group is an Italian industrial group, founded in 1948, specializing in packaging, owned by the Fanti family. The group has an aggregate revenue of 120 million euro, operates several plants in Italy along with several production and commercial entities in Europe, Russia, and Africa that manufacture more than 100 million metal cans every year.
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Gov. Justice announces Klöckner Pentaplast to expand production facility in Beaver
Gov. Justice announced Monday that Klöckner Pentaplast, a global manufacturer and supplier of sustainable packaging products, has chosen its production facility in Beaver for its production expansion, adding thermoforming capabilities to further grow their sustainable food tray offer for the North America market. With this expansion, Klöckner Pentaplast, also known as kp, supports the continuous, increased demand for a higher percentage of post-consumer recycled content (PCR), in various food, consumer and health packaging applications. The investment will bring about several million dollars in economic development to the area and create 21 full-time jobs.
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Gov. Justice attends Marshall University football game commemorating 50th anniversary of plane crash
Last Saturday, Gov. Justice attended the Marshall University football game to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the plane crash. On November 14, 1970, 75 people, including Marshall players and coaches, were killed when their plane crashed on the trip back to Marshall from their game at East Carolina.
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Department of Transportation announces progress and lane shift on West Virginia Turnpike Beckley Widening Project
On Thursday, the West Virginia Department of Transportation shifted the construction lane on the West Virginia Turnpike (I-64/I-77) between mile markers 40 and 48 in Raleigh County. The transition was completed late Wednesday night and the driving lanes switched from the outside lanes to the inside lanes on the morning of Thursday, November 19. This project is part of Governor Justice’s Roads To Prosperity program.
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Gov. Justice: Game Changer launching “Change Their Holiday” promotion to aid families recovering from opioid and substance misuse
Gov. Justice announced Thursday that the West Virginia Game Changer initiative is launching a new promotion called “Change Their Holiday,” with a goal of making sure families recovering from opioid and substance misuse have everything they need to enjoy a happy holiday season. Through its Change Their Holiday promotion, Game Changer will be raising money until Friday, Dec. 18, to help provide families in recovery a complete holiday, down to the turkey dinner with all the fixings on Christmas Day.
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Gov. Justice: Capitol dome to see light of day very soon
It’s been a year and a half since the construction of scaffold and a weather protection covering was put into place on and around the historic Capitol dome. Now both are coming down in a major milestone of a repair and restoration project that began nearly three years ago. The $15 million project to mitigate water and other issues was a massive undertaking necessary to preserve the 88-year-old building and keep visitors and employees alike safe. Weather permitting, removal of the dome covering will be completed in the coming weeks. Removal of the exterior scaffolding will begin after the covering is fully removed. 
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Gov. Justice announces nearly $1 million in Justice Assistance Grant awards
Gov. Justice announced Wednesday that he has awarded $999,995.00 in Justice Assistance Grant (JAG) program funds to 40 projects statewide. These funds will be used to assist state agencies, local units of government, and private non-profit agencies in carrying out specific programs that offer a high probability of improving the functioning of the criminal justice system. Special emphasis was placed on multi-jurisdictional projects and statewide projects that seek to create and/or retain jobs in the criminal justice system in West Virginia.
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Division of Highways accepts bids remotely for 18 projects
The West Virginia Division of Highways, which continues to hold bid lettings remotely to move projects forward while protecting the public from COVID-19, took bids for 18 projects on Nov. 17, 2020. Included in this bid were two Roads To Prosperity projects: Hominy Creek Bridge and Oil Ridge Road. The West Virginia Division of Highways is reviewing the bids and hopes to award contracts for these projects soon. Many factors must be considered before awarding a bid, including whether a bid falls above or below the WVDOH Engineer’s Estimate and by what percentage.
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DHHR announces Low Income Energy Assistance Program available
The West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources (DHHR) will begin mailing applications for the Low Income Energy Assistance Program (LIEAP) on November 16, 2020, to those who received LIEAP this past season. If determined eligible, a one-time payment will be issued to the Public Service Commission-regulated heating vendor indicated on the application. If the household heats with bulk fuel, i.e., wood, coal, or liquified petroleum gas, the payment will be mailed to the individual. Individuals can return the application by U.S. Mail to their local DHHR office or complete it online at www.wvpath.org. Applications must be returned by December 18, 2020.
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West Virginia provides great hunting opportunities for youth, families
This week, the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources spotlighted the opportunities for youth hunters in the state. Many hunters in the Mountain State got their start when they were a kid and that’s why everyone at the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources encourages adult hunters to continue introducing their children and families to the sport.
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Also this week:

Gov. Justice issues Executive Order 81-20

W.Va. Guard participates in Eastern Action virtual seminar
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Contact Information

Jordan Damron, jordan.l.damron@wv.gov

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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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