COVID-19 UPDATE: Gov. Justice issues Executive Order for Marion County; says numbers still trending for state to keep spread of COVID-19 to a minimum


CHARLESTON, WV – Gov. Jim Justice joined State health leaders at the Capitol Complex in Charleston today for a virtual press briefing to once again update the public on the many measures being taken in the interest of protecting the public from the spread of novel coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).

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 to prevent further spread of COVID-19 across the state.

View the Executive Order here.

“We’ve got another hot spot, Marion County is wedged in between two other counties (Monongalia and Harrison) where we’ve had multiple, confirmed positive cases so I’m including them today,” Gov. Justice said. “I’m going to keep doing everything I can to protect all West Virginians the best we can in the face of this terrible pandemic.”

Gov. Justice did go on to say that the numbers “are still trending in a good way in West Virginia."

Click here for the most up-to-date testing numbers from WV DHHR.

“Every day that goes by now is a monumental hurdle, because we know we’re close to being in the eye of the storm, it’s close to being over top of us,” Gov. Justice said. “It still may be five or six days away, or it may be here today, and things could get much uglier,” Gov. Justice said. “We should still be very concerned, but at the same time, we hold hope that there is light at the end of the tunnel and things are going our way and look like it’s going to get better. We’ve still got a long way to go and again none of us really know, only God above does, but I know he’ll get us through this.”
 

 

 

STATE COVID-19 CZAR SAYS STAYING SEPARATED, STAYING AT HOME WILL HAVE ITS GREATEST EFFECT IN WEST VIRGINIA DURING THE NEXT TWO WEEKS

Dr. Clay Marsh, COVID-19 Czar for the state, encouraged West Virginians to “not let down now” and that he’s “happy and grateful for the great work most of our citizens” are doing to limit the virus from spreading.

“Staying physically separated and staying at home will have its greatest effect in West Virginia during the next eight to 14 days,” Dr. Marsh said. He also added that state officials are working constantly to make sure that as much information as possible is being put out for the citizens to see and indicated that more will be forthcoming.

 

 

 

GOVERNOR ENCOURAGES CITIZENS TO CONSIDER HELPING YOUTHS IN FOSTER CARE

“During this time we want the public to know that foster parents are still greatly needed throughout the state,” Gov. Justice noted. “With over 7,000 youth in foster care in West Virginia, it is imperative that we 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,” Gov. Justice said. “So if you can, at this time in your life, look at the possibility of helping out these youths please consider foster care.”

 

 

 

OPTUM EMOTIONAL SUPPORT HELPLINE

Gov. Justice said Optum, a division of UnitedHealth (our PEIA benefits manager), is now offering an Emotional Support helpline that is available to all West Virginians who may be experiencing anxiety or stress due to the COVID-19 crisis. The free service can be reached 24/7 at 866-342-6892.

 

 

NATIONAL GUARD DEPLOYMENT REACHES 540

West Virginia National Guard Adjutant General, Maj. Gen. James Hoyer said 540 members of the West Virginia National Guard (WVNG) are serving the State of West Virginia through four lines of effort to include: operationalizing of the event, stabilizing the population, providing logistical movement of critical supplies and conducting data analysis to combat the virus.

“Nineteen members of the WVNG are currently assisting Workforce West Virginia and have been receiving training to process unemployment claims to address the backlog of applications,” Maj. Gen. Hoyer said. “By next week, our service members will be fully trained and able to begin processing those claims, and in addition, more personnel will be added to assist with answering calls to meet increasing demands for assistance.” He also said vast improvements in claims processing to be made in conjunction with Workforce West Virginia and that another call center is being readied at West Virginia University and will be operational soon.

Members of Task Force Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear (CBRN) Response Enterprise (TF-CRE) continue to ramp up their efforts to provide training to local retail establishments on proper cargo, box handling, and PPE wear in an effort to flatten the curve of COVID-19 spread. They will be providing training to 43 stores today in addition to the 27 stores trained yesterday. This team has also been working with county health departments to develop guidelines for safe social distancing in essential retail locations around the state.

So far, this task force has trained 125 stores and 523 personnel while also assisting with COVID-19 drive through testing lanes in Huntington, Grafton, Weston, and Brooke County starting today. Drive through testing support will expand to include Wyoming and Mingo Counties later this week and Hampshire County next week.

“Our mission of supporting the most vulnerable populations in the state continues to make an impact and in the last 24 hours we packed 423 family boxes at the Facing Hunger Food Bank in Huntington and 1,363 meals at the Mountaineer Food Bank,” said Maj. Gen. Hoyer. “We are adding an additional five WVNG service members to assist with increasing demand at the Gassaway location later this week. Our refrigerated trucks assisted with the delivery of meals to Mason and Wood Counties yesterday totaling 1,490 meals. To date, WVNG personnel have assisted in packing and distributing nearly 60,000 meals to those in need in the Mountain State.

“Today, our logistics team is continuing to provide assistance at St. Francis Hospital, alongside personnel from FEMA Region III, in the conversion of space to support COVID-19 patients while also receiving 5,080 goggles, 5,970 N95 masks, 3,300 gloves, 600 gowns, and 105 face shields. The team also distributed hand sanitizer to Jefferson and Nicholas Counties and Cabell-Huntington Hospital today. Our data analysts working with DHHR's regional epidemiology teams were able to support 205 contact tracing engagements and six expedited specimen transfers to track the spread of COVID-19 in West Virginia.”
Gov. Justice also reported that a patient at a nursing home in Wayne County has tested positive for the coronavirus and is being treated at a local hospital.

“Our thoughts and prayers go out to them, all of our citizens that have become sick from COVID-19 and for the four that have passed on,” Gov. Justice added. “Keep praying for all of them.”

The Governor also thanked President Trump for approving his request for FEMA to fund 100 percent of the emergency assistance activities our West Virginia National Guard undertakes to respond to COVID-19.

“This allows full federal funding for our National Guard while still keeping local control of their activities under our purview in West Virginia,” Gov. Justice said.

Read more here. 

 

 

EDUCATORS HELP WITH PPE SUPPLIES, CONTINUE THEIR WORK WITH STUDENTS

“Schools and career technical education centers are assisting in the fight against the coronavirus pandemic by donating more than 65,000 protective items to healthcare workers and first responders,” Gov. Justice indicated. “Along with supplies, which include personal protective equipment (PPE), 28 CTE centers have also produced and donated 700 masks and 400 face shields thanks to their 3D printing and technical capabilities.

Our education community continues to step up to the challenges of this pandemic and they are truly superstars,” Gov. Justice added. “Our teachers, instructors, administrators, service personnel and county staff are working to ensure the educational and nutritional needs of our children are met, AND they are also taking time to assist the brave men and women fighting this disease on the frontline.”

 

 

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION
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.

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