4/23 Morning Briefing

Cases of COVID 19 in West Virginia

Updated: 4/23/2020

34 New Reported Cases

360 Reported Cases Recovered

The West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources (DHHR) is the official reporting agency for COVID-19, which in turn provides official case numbers to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Medical providers and laboratories are required to report positive test results to DHHR. The data in the daily reports include all known positive cases but underreports the total number of individuals tested as not all laboratories are able to electronically submit negative test results.

Click here to view the list of current testing sites.

Gov. Justice continues to encourage all West Virginians to follow the guidelines presented by President Donald J. Trump to avoid social gatherings of more than 10 people.

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.

CHARLESTON, WV – Gov. Jim Justice joined West Virginia health leaders and other officials today for his latest daily press briefing regarding the State’s COVID-19 response.
On Wednesday, Gov. Justice highlighted several aspects of the State of West Virginia’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic that are setting new precedents for the entire country.The Governor recognized the West Virginia National Guard for becoming the first National Guard in the country to be approved by the U.S. Department of Defense to provide mobile testing for COVID-19.The WVNG established two COVID-19 mobile testing laboratories, which were activated for use today. The units will be primarily stationed in Charleston and Morgantown.

The process for deploying the mobile testing units starts at the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources, which will alert the National Guard for the need of a rapid testing response in a particular area. From there, the National Guard will deploy one of the two mobile units within 45 minutes of receiving notification.

“Just think about that – innovation, with goodness in West Virginia, from smart people that are doing absolutely terrific work,” Gov. Justice said.

This comes just days after West Virginia became the first state in the country to begin testing all nursing home residents and staff members statewide.

Today, Gov. Justice announced that recent testing of 120 people at the veterans nursing home in Barboursville resulted in just one positive case. The proactive testing allowed officials to move quickly in efforts to limit the spread.

Visit Coronavirus.wv.gov to view the most up-to-date COVID-19 testing numbers

“That tickles me to death because we had a few breakouts at nursing homes that were very, very alarming,” Gov. Justice said. “That’s why we went on this crusade to test everybody – something that had never been done in the nation before. Now, many, many states are following suit, and, in fact, I’ve been told the CDC is on the verge of making that recommendation nationwide.”

Gov. Justice also highlighted a recent study that ranked West Virginia as the #1 state in the nation for carrying out the best response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“It just came out the other day and, of all things, it should maybe be the thing we’re most proud of,” Gov. Justice said. “West Virginia was recognized for being first in the nation in the way that we have handled this thus far. And we need to continue to be first in the nation on how we decide to bring our people back as quickly and safely as we possibly can.”

Today, Gov. Justice reiterated that his intentions are to get West Virginians back to work as quickly and as safely as possible in the face of the pandemic.“The one thing I’ve tried, with all in me, to do is guide us on a pathway to keep as many of us from getting sick and as many people from dying as I possibly could. As we move forward…I would tell you that if this nation and this engine doesn’t start back, we’re in incredible peril in terms of what could happen to us,” Gov. Justice said. “We have to go back to work. We have to be able to find a way to live with this dreaded disease until we get the vaccines to then be able to go back to life as normal.“In that bridging period, what we’re going to do is we’re going to bring back as much as we can possibly do with the experts leading our way at each and every step,” Gov. Justice continued. “I want to put us back to work right now. But I also want to put us back in a way that is guided by our experts, guided by what our President is saying, guided by the guidelines coming out of D.C., and guided in a way that makes us the safest that we can be.”
With low-interest loan packages from the federal government set to soon come into small businesses to help keep their operations afloat, Gov. Justice provided a message to small business owners across West Virginia.“Many of you probably do not think you have business interruption insurance,” Gov. Justice said. “And the insurance companies, especially the great, big, gigantic insurance companies they would look right at you and say ‘You don’t have any coverage.’ Don’t stop there. Get your best accountant, your best lawyer, your very best advisor, and push it to the limit because many of you have coverage and you don’t know you’ve got it.”
Today, Gov. Justice provided another update on WorkForce West Virginia and the National Guard’s efforts to process the wave of unemployment claims that have been filed across the State since March, reporting that more than 8,000 claims were processed yesterday alone.“They’re still on track to have the backlog completely eliminated by tonight,” Gov. Justice said. “I know there are those of you that were frustrated. I was too. I tripled the amount of manpower. That wasn’t enough. So I tripled it again.“It pleases me that we’re going to get this backlog behind us,” Gov. Justice continued.
Gov. Justice also discussed Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA), an option for additional assistance benefitting workers who would otherwise not be eligible for unemployment compensation. This includes self-employed workers, independent contractors, workers with insufficient work histories, gig workers, ride-sharing drivers, and more.

The Governor reminded qualified workers that applications for PUA will open on Friday, April 24, 2020, at 10 p.m. Applications will be available online at WorkForceWV.org.

Today, the West Virginia Department of Education (WVDE) announced that they have postponed the 2020 Governor’s Schools planned for this summer. The Department organizes six residential academies each summer as part of this program to provide deep learning opportunities for students from grades 8-12.Each year, the WVDE holds the Governor’s Schools at West Virginia college and university campuses and state facilities. West Virginia University and Marshall University have both announced that they will cancel on-site courses and resort to online instruction only this summer. Therefore, the venues will no longer be available.Next year (summer 2021) the WVDE will double the number of programs offered to make sure that those students selected this year will still be able to participate. The exception will be the Governor’s Honors Academy. Since rising seniors attend this program, they will likely be unavailable next summer as they prepare for the next phases of their lives. Therefore, the WVDE hopes to host weekend experiences and recognitions this fall to celebrate their accomplishments. These plans are not yet complete but will be shared with students and their families and released publicly as soon as possible.

Click here to read more

The West Virginia National Guard (WVNG) continues to make progress in the testing of all nursing home facilities in the state, in coordination with the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources and the West Virginia Health Care Association.Members of Task Force CRE and Task Force Medical conducted COVID-19 testing at Morgantown Health and Rehabilitation today for more than 120 staff members, who in turn tested patients in the facility. This marks the third facility to undergo testing by the WVNG this week and to date, this team has tested 1,217 people as a part of their response mission.The West Virginia Guard will also assist in COVID-19 testing at numerous state hospitals starting tomorrow and by Friday will have completed four of the seven locations in the state.

In addition to conducting COVID-19 testing for nursing homes, Task Force CRE continues its missions of providing personal protective equipment (PPE) wear training to long-term care facilities and plan to visit 10 locations today. Members are also providing assistance for COVID-19 drive through testing lanes and to date, have trained 637 stores, 2,778 personnel, and 45 medical or long-term care facilities.

Click here to read more about the WVNG’s latest efforts

The West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources (DHHR) Bureau for Children and Families will offer a one-time special assistance payment during the COVID-19 pandemic.  The Pandemic Diversionary Cash Assistance (PDCA) is part of the state’s response to the pandemic. To apply, contact your local DHHR officer by visiting their website. Applications will be accepted now until June 30, 2020. For more information, call the DHHR’s customer services hotline at 1-877-716-1212

The West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals extended the Judicial Emergency through the middle of May. The Supreme Court declared a Judicial Emergency on March 22, 2020, in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Court extended the emergency through May 15, 2020, for all 55 counties. This means all in-person proceedings and court deadlines, except emergency proceedings, are halted. All jury trials and grand jury proceedings are also halted through May 15, 2020.

Adventures on the Gorge closed until the end of May due to COVID-19 concerns

The Pottery Place is now offering Curbside to go – check out their Facebook page for details -By appointment only.

The Center for Academic and Career Development (CACD) at Concord University is hosting a Virtual Career Fair for Education majors on Thursday, May 7 from 1:30 p.m. to 4 p.m. Representatives from school districts around the region will be available during the live online gathering to discuss employment opportunities with students. All Concord Education students – from those just starting their academic careers to those set to graduate soon – are invited to participate. Concord’s Education students are being notified through email about the career fair and how they can join the virtual meeting,

U.S. Senators Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.) and Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.), members of the Senate Appropriations Committee, today announced $6 million for communities across West Virginia to aid older adults and individuals with disabilities. Specifically, these grants will fund home-delivered meals, in-home care services, services to families and caregivers, and support centers for independents living across West Virginia. 


Voting in-person is scheduled for the 10-day early voting period from May 27 to June 6. 

Voting in-person will also be available on Election Day, June 9, from 6:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m.

New this year, voters with disabilities will be able to join overseas and military voters to cast their ballots electronically. 

The option begins the same day absentee ballots start going in the mail, Friday, April 24, and is provided through the Democracy Live online platform. For additional information about the upcoming June 9 Primary Election, please visit GoVoteWV.com.