Controversy over WV public health officer and COVID-19 funds

Local News

CHARLESTON, WV (WOWK) — Dr. Cathy Slemp, who was helping oversee the state’s Coronavirus response, was asked to submit her resignation and she did. For three months, Governor Justice said there have been multiple discrepancies in the state’s numbers of positive COVID-19 cases. But, he did not mention Dr. Slemp by name at his briefing on Wednesday, June 24, 2020.

“You got to have passion for doing the job and doing the job right. Or you’re either dead level asleep at the switch. And I can’t be more blunt. I am not going to tolerate this,” said Gov. Jim Justice, (R) West Virginia.

The Governor’s re-election opponent, Ben Salango, called it a mistake.

“This is just another failure of the Justice Administration, to fire your chief health officer in the middle of a pandemic, particularly when we’re seeing a spike right now. We’re seeing a slight increase in COVID-related positives, and additional deaths,” said Commissioner Ben Salango, (D) Nominee for WV Governor.

Salango also said his county wants $10 million from the federal CARES Act to help small business, but the Governor will not comply.

“I’m just wondering if it’s on Salango for Governor stationary. Because all it is is another political stunt,” said Gov. Justice.

Salango said Kanawha County was the first local government to request aid, for expenses such as testing.

“About 3-point-2 million dollars in Covid related expences. To date, we’ve not received a penny. And none of the money has gone out to small businesses. We’re having small business close every single day,” said Commissioner Salango.

The state has a total of one-point two-five billion in federal aid to distribute.

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