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.
After going over those who passed away from COVID-19, the Governor spoke about the surge in positive cases reported on Friday. He stated this is not the worst thing to see. This is because the increased testing is identifying those who are spreading the virus.
The reproductive, Rt, factor is now at 0.99. The Governor said this is the ninth best in the country. He cautioned West Virginians to keep following the guidelines from the DHHR and the CDC. The goal is to keep this below one.
The state is submitting the COVID-19 vaccine plan to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on Friday. Gov. Justice said the state is ready to distribute the vaccine when it becomes available.
Additional questions came into the Governor’s office regarding how they are spending the CARES Act funding. As a result, the Governor spent time during the briefing going over the breakdown.
Maj. Gen. Hoyer spoke about the loss the of civilian employee of the National Guard. The member was a retired Master Sergeant who died of COVID-19. He asked West Virginians to focus on testing and preventative measures which prevent the spread of the virus to others.
Dr. Ayne Amjad, the WV State Health Officer, advised they are hoping to lead the nation with the COVID-19 Vaccine Plan. The plan states the first wave of the vaccine will go to healthcare workers followed by the most vulnerable population. Dr. Amjad stated the vaccine will likely be available to the general community in 2021. Dr. Clay Marsh added this will likely be done in phases throughout each quarter.
Dr. Amjad cautioned residents about a website which is providing inaccurate information about students who have contracted COVID-19. She stressed the DHHR is providing the most up to date information.
DHHR Secretary Bill Crouch stated the increase in reported testing was due to the effort to bring laboratories online electronically. There are about 4,000 tests attributed to this effort.