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.
“We have got to continue to seek as much normalcy as we can, but we have to be smart,” stated Gov. Jim Justice as he began his briefing on Wednesday, Aug. 12, 2020.
The Governor listed those who passed away from the virus since his previous briefing on Monday. He continues to stress these are people who need to be remembered. Most of the recent fatalities are among the elderly.
Starting at Midnight on Wednesday, the Governor once again closed all nursing homes in West Virginia to visitation. This is due to the increased number of outbreaks at nursing home, which reached more than 25.
DHHR Secretary Bill Crouch addressed a question regarding staff members at nursing homes who bring the virus into work. The DHHR is working to develop educational materials for nursing homes and health care facilities.
The Governor added his staff will work to find a metric to be used to allow some nursing homes to reopen. He set a timeline of days to have this completed. The goal is to allow this to be determined on a county by county basis rather than a statewide basis.
West Virginia is now the fifth best state in the nation in preventing the spread of the virus. The R-T number is now 0.89.
The bar closure in Monongalia County will be extended another seven days. During this time, the state will gather information to create protocols to allow them to reopen. This was based on advice from WVU.
Regarding the reopening of schools, the state is still on target for Sept. 8, 2020. Health leaders are still working to develop a plan to pivot if the pandemic gets worse locally. This will determine if each county will be holding in-person class or go to a completely virtual format.
“Local input will rule the day,” said Gov. Justice in regards to returning to school.
The South Central Regional Jail is on complete lockdown. This is due to 26 inmates who have tested positive. There is also one staff member.
The Governor announced HELP 304, an emotional strength hotline for those who are dealing with stress in connection with the COVID-19 pandemic.
How is West Virginia going to handle the cost of the $100 burden for continued unemployment claims. This is calculated to be around $26 million is a worst case scenario. Current numbers are showing that is closer to $10-15 million. To be eligible, applicants must qualify for at least $100 in a variety of unemployment programs.