Gov. Justice: “The situation changes by the hour”

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Gov. Justice and state officials provide an update for media on COVID-19 preparedness and response plans. 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.

Gov. Justice began his Monday, Aug. 10, 2020 briefing going over the deaths in West Virginia since his last briefing on Friday afternoon. He called attention to each death in order to ensure the people are remembered and not just tallied as numbers and statistics. The youngest of those who passed away was a 38-year-old woman.

The Governor asked people to remember to help their neighbors and the elderly. This includes picking up groceries or anything to keep them safe from exposure to the virus.

Discussing schools, the Governor said Sept. 8 is a long way away and the situation with the pandemic changes almost hourly. He stated he was concerned about reports of 100,000 children contracting COVID-19. As of Monday morning, the Governor said West Virginia does not have the capability to test every child and employee going back to school. However, they are looking at whether they can expand those capabilities, possibly before Sept. 8.

Unemployment was extended by executive order of President Donald Trump. This will be $400 a week. Of that $100 will have to be paid by the state. Gov. Justice said West Virginia will pay it. The $300 from the federal government will be from FEMA. Workforce West Virginia leaders stated the there is no additional requirement from the claimants to receive the money, other than making their regular weekly reports.

All inmates and staff at the South Central Regional Jail are being tested after eight cases were discovered there. There are also 10 staff members at the Southern Regional Jail who tested positive. Those individuals are self-quarantined. Gov. Justice said the one inmate at SRJ who tested positive has recovered.

With recent surges the Governor is mandating all staff and residents at nursing homes and inmates and staff at correctional centers be retested.

Department of Health and Human Resources (DHHR) Secretary Bill Crouch addressed outbreaks at nursing homes. These include Pine Lodge Center in Raleigh County and Princeton Health Care Center (PHCC) in Mercer County. He said they are of concern to the DHHR. There are five people from PHCC who were transferred to St. Francis, the coronavirus surge hospital.

The problem with reporting fatalities at PHCC was due, in part, to the change of management at the Mercer County Health Department, according to State Health Officer Dr. Ayne Amjad. This led to death reports not being filled out. The families of those who passed away were aware of what was going .

The National Guard will be providing sanitization, testing and technical expertise to counties in southern West Virginia. He states Aug. 10 is the 150th day of this emergency. Maj. Gen. James Hoyer stated this is the longest activation for the guard in response to an emergency.

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