COVID-19 UPDATE: Gov. Justice says West Virginia still trending the right way on minimizing COVID-19 cases


CHARLESTON, WV – Gov. Jim Justice joined State health leaders at the Capitol Complex in Charleston yesterday 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).

Saying that West Virginia “is still trending the right way” when it comes to the number of COVID-19 cases in the state, Gov. Jim Justice reminded state citizens to “keep doing the good work you have by washing your hands, keeping your hands away from your face and practicing social distancing” while also praising again health care and front line personnel for helping to “minimize the number of deaths and sickness” from the pandemic.

West Virginia’s second death attributable to COVID-19 was confirmed Wednesday in Jackson County, and Gov. Justice asked all residents to “keep the family, friends and loved ones” of this victim “in your thoughts and prayers.”

The number of positive tests for COVID-19 in West Virginia continues to stay at the level of approximately four percent.

Gov. Justice also said, despite a letter from some legislative leaders calling for cancellation of the rest of the school year, that he was “not ready to throw the towel in yet.

“I’m not going to deny our kids some sort of hope of going back to school,” Gov. Justice said. “I’m going to keep listening to the experts and I can assure you I would never put our kids, teachers and service personnel back in schools until it is totally safe and totally sound. But we don’t have to make a decision today on the rest of the school year.”

SCHOOLS SUPERINTENDENT ANNOUNCES NEW TV PROGRAM DESIGNED TO HELP EDUCATE KIDS

State Schools Superintendent Clayton Burch added that he was “disheartened” after learning of the letter to the Governor and said maintaining a “single” message and being as “optimistic as we can” with our kids is crucial to their well-being.

Superintendent Burch said in the meantime keeping our students’ skills sharp and staying engaged with them and their families as much as possible is vital, and as a result, the West Virginia Department of Education and West Virginia Public Broadcasting have partnered up and will begin offering 30-minute educational segments that WVPB will broadcast every Tuesday and Thursday between 9 and 9:30 am.

Students can tune in for short lessons from state educators in the core subject areas. This also gives families ideas for educational activities they can do with their children.

“This is a great example of how our state agencies continue to work together and support one another and the general public during this pandemic,” Gov. Justice said.

COVID-19 CZAR SAYS EVERY DAY WEST VIRGINIANS STAY VIGILANT IT WILL REDUCE EFFECTS OF CORONAVIRUS

“Our future will be written by what we keep doing, not by what we’ve done,” Dr. Clay Marsh, the state’s COVID-19 czar, said during the briefing. Dr. Marsh also encouraged citizens to use face coverings of some sort - masks, scarves, etc. - to also help reduce the transmission of droplets that could be virus-laden.

“Do the good work, follow what the Governor is asking us to do and it will reduce the need for critical care beds and deaths in West Virginia.”

ADJUTANT GENERAL URGES CITIZENS TO DOUBLE DOWN ON HYGIENE, SOCIAL DISTANCING; SPEAKS ABOUT INNOVATIVE WORK BEING DONE TO REDUCE SPREAD OF VIRUS

“Doubling down on the things you’ve been doing is exceptionally important and will help us break the curve,” said Maj. Gen. James Hoyer of the West Virginia National Guard.

Maj. Gen. Hoyer said “innovative ways to reduce the spread of the virus and to protect our front line workers” are being identified and taught to workers in essential business locations.

He said more than 420 Soldiers and Airmen are now on duty supporting COVID-19 response efforts across the state. Over the last 24 hours, West Virginia Guard Soldiers, in conjunction with the Department of Health and Human Resources, have made significant headway on contact tracing and data analysis for the tracking of COVID-19 spread through over 430 engagements and eight expedited specimen transfers.

Experts from the Guard’s Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear (CBRN) Response Enterprise (CRE) task force are conducting 20 training missions today for retailers, food establishments and convenience stores in proper cargo, box handling, and PPE wear.

“We are also continuing our mission of supporting the most vulnerable populations in the state and in the last 24 hours, we packed over 2,000 meals at the Mountaineer and Facing Hunger Food Banks. A refrigerated truck and team from the WVNG will assist with the delivery of 5,500 meals to Ohio County today,” Maj. Gen. Hoyer added.

“Critical medical supplies from the national stockpile were distributed yesterday to all 55 counties and 275 gallons of hand sanitizer has been provided to the Bureau of Senior Services.”

ATTORNEY GENERAL ENCOURAGES CITIZENS TO CONTACT HIS OFFICE IF THEY EXPERIENCE PRICE GOUGING, LANDLORD-TENANT ISSUES

Attorney General Patrick Morrissey complimented workers for the “Herculean effort they are making” across West Virginia to “keep stores stocked with food and other critical supplies” during this crisis.

He also said that if citizens should experience price gouging, landlord-tenant issues or other consumer problems to contact his office and that they will investigate every claim.

The West Virginia Attorney General’s Consumer Protection hotline is toll-free at 1-800-368-8808 or online at ago.wv.gov

RURAL WATER ASSOCIATION PSA

Gov. Justice passed along a public service announcement from the West Virginia Rural Water Association reminding all West Virginians not to flush disinfecting wipes down the toilet, only flush toilet paper.

Flushing wipes, paper towels and similar products down toilets will clog sewers and cause backups and overflows, especially at our rural wastewater treatment facilities, creating an additional public health risk in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic.

FREE WIFI HOTSPOTS PROVIDED BY GREENBRIER COUNTY BUSINESS

Gov. Justice also recognized a Greenbrier County business for assisting communications in rural areas.

“I truly appreciate the many West Virginia businesses that are allowing their employees to work from home during this time,” Gov. Justice said. “To assist these employees with access to high-speed internet, Countrymen Communications, a West Virginia small business based in Greenbrier County has offered to set-up FREE WIFI access points for people to use. These sites are set up in parking lots for folks to access from their vehicle.
 
The current sites are:

  • The WV State Fairgrounds in Fairlea,
  • Alumni Park in Alderson and
  • The Williamsburg Volunteer Fire Department.

“I want to send a huge thank you to Carrie Scott, who runs Countrymen. She hopes to expand access to more sites soon."

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