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.
The Governor began his briefing by asking people to keep the family of the latest fatality due to COVID-19 in their prayers. He also offered condolences for the family of a National Guard member who passed away over the weekend. Sgt. Gerald Collins died due to a medical emergency.
The Governor said his biggest concern on Monday morning is the migration of the virus from the south. This is indicated by the surges in Logan, Mingo and Mercer Counties. He cautioned all West Virginians to take every possible precaution.
St. Francis Hospital is being stood up as a COVID-19 surge hospital. This is in conjunction with Thomas Health, the organization which runs the hospital. DHHR Secretary Bill Crouch stated this will begin with 15 beds. This can be expanded. He stated this is in preparation for any possible need which may arise.
Visitors will not be allowed if the hospital is utilized. All residents will be provided with an tablet to allow video conferencing with their family and loved ones.
State leaders report Princeton Health Care Center now has 31 Staff and 33 Residents with COVID-19. There are also hot spots at Beckley ARH and Logan General Hospital. State resources are being directed to these facilities.
Overnight into Monday, there are 16 hospitalizations from PHCC, according to Sec. Crouch. He added there were three reported deaths connected to the outbreak at PHCC. WV state health officer, Dr. Ayne Amjad, has been in contact with PHCC staff. The DHHR is looking into the disarray at the Mercer County Health Department and investigating if there may be additional deaths.
The National Guard is on hand in Mercer and Raleigh Counties to support the outbreaks at Beckley ARH and PHCC. Maj. Gen. James Hoyer stated they will be in the area all week to assist.
Doctor Amjad spoke regarding Beckley ARH. They can still handle community care because they have enough staff to continue to provide this service.
The closure of bars in Monongalia County was extended for another 10 days. Church outbreaks are down to four across the state.
$102 Million of CARES Act funding has now been sent to cities and counties across the state. The Governor encouraged communities to continue to apply. The cash will be distributed in compliance with the federal guidelines.
The Governor stated he will make an announcement on Wednesday, Aug. 5, 2020 in regards to starting schools. He reiterated his pledge to the safety of the students and that he will not be pressured into reopening the schools.