4/27 Morning Briefing

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Cases of COVID 19 in West Virginia

Updated: 4/27/2020

72 New Reported Cases

455 Reported Cases Recovered

CONFIRMED CASES PER COUNTY: Barbour (4), Berkeley (131), Boone (2), Braxton (2), Brooke (4), Cabell (40), Fayette (9), Gilmer (2), Grant (1), Greenbrier (3), Hampshire (7), Hancock (8), Hardy (3), Harrison (30), Jackson (127), Jefferson (71), Kanawha (153), Lewis (3), Lincoln (1), Logan (12), Marion (45), Marshall (11), Mason (11), McDowell (6), Mercer (9), Mineral (15), Mingo (2), Monongalia (101), Monroe (5), Morgan (9), Nicholas (6), Ohio (26), Pendleton (3), Pleasants (2), Preston (13), Putnam (18), Raleigh (8), Randolph (4), Roane (4), Summers (1), Taylor (6), Tucker (4), Tyler (3), Upshur (4), Wayne (82), Wetzel (3), Wirt (3), Wood (35), Wyoming (1).

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.

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The Fayette County Health Department & COVID-19 Testing Taskforce finished testing all Fayette County nursing home residents. The announcement was made on Sunday, April 26, 2020. The 1,111 swabs that were tested all came back negative for COVID-19 as of April 24, 2020.
To celebrate, Fayette County will host healthcare heroes day on Monday, April 27, 2020, starting at noon. Residents are encouraged to get outside and cheer

 Local first responders will conduct a drive-thru appreciation parade on Friday, May 1, 2020… a big celebration for our healthcare workers fighting COVID-19. First responders will parade past Raleigh General Hospital and Beckley Appalachian Regional Hospital. The Raleigh County Firefighters Association, along with neighboring fire, EMS, and law enforcement agencies, there will be two different parades going to each hospital. The lineup will begin at the Beckley-Raleigh County Convention Center parking lot at 4 p.m. on Friday, May 1. The parade will start at 5 pm.

Sheetz will offer free coffee to first responders and health care workers in appreciation of their commitment to our health and safety as they fight on the frontlines of the COVID-19 crisis. This offer is available to hospital workers, police officers, firefighters, and paramedics – all who are involved in helping their communities fight COVID-19. It is effective immediately and will run through June 1, 2020.

HIGH SCHOOL GRADUATION PLANS 2020 
Many high schools in Southern West Virginia are starting to put out plans for adapted graduation ceremonies. You are encouraged to contact your local schools’ social media pages for detailed information.

From Raleigh County Schools   Parents of students with disabilities. You should expect a consultation call from your school case manager. These calls are being made via an online calling tool called Ring Central. The extension used for making these calls is routed through Santa Monica CA. Please be aware that incoming calls to your phone that display a Santa Monica CA, are most likely your child’s case manager attempting to contact you

The West Virginia Secondary School Activities Commission announced a new initiative on Wednesday to honor the 2020 seniors, The “Shine for WV Seniors” event is asking communities to light up on May 1, by turning on stadium lights, school lights, front porches, anything to show the seniors support during this time. Lights should be turned on at 8:30 p.m.

 

Gov. Jim Justice will conduct a live, statewide address this morning at approx. 10:30 a.m. to provide West Virginians an update on COVID-19 preparedness and response efforts. You can watch it here.

Friday, April 24: Gov. Justice discusses potential strategies to safely begin reopening daycares, restaurants
On Friday, Gov. Justice announced that discussions on ways to safely reopen various aspects of the state and its economy continue to ramp up.

“As we move forward, I would just promise you with all my soul that I will continue, with the experts that we’ve brought together, to try to protect you in every way,” Gov. Justice said. “But, at the same time, I’m also going to try every way in my power to get you back to work and get you back to the lifestyle that you’ve become accustomed to.”

After recently announcing plans to bring West Virginia’s hospitals back to full capacity by allowing elective procedures as early as next week, Gov. Justice unveiled Friday plans to test all staff members at West Virginia daycares so those facilities can reopen as quickly and safely as possible.

“So that way, when you bring your children to one of our daycares, you’ll know that component is as safe as possible,” Gov. Justice said. “We’re going to do ongoing testing of daycare staff and we’re going to try to come up with some ways we may be able to do temperature testing of other people coming into these facilities.”

The Governor also announced that he has directed his team to look into the safest ways to begin the process of reopening restaurants and determine what additional safety protocols may be necessary. He indicated the state will provide advance notice of at least a week before the current guidelines are altered.

Gov. Justice listed some safety requirements that are currently being considered, including limiting restaurant capacity, implementing special spacing requirements for bars and restaurants, increasing cleaning measures, limiting the number of people per table, instituting temperature checks for employees, requiring masks for cashiers and staff, providing disposable menus and utensils, and serving beverages in cans or bottles.

Additionally, Gov. Justice said that he has directed his team to specifically look into the possibility of easing restrictions on outdoor dining across the state.

Gov. Justice also reported that, after implementing strict public health measures in Morgan County recently, the area has seen a low number of active cases of COVID-19.

As a result, the Governor announced Friday that he has issued an Executive Order, removing Morgan County from the list of COVID-19 community clusters in West Virginia.

Morgan County is still subject to all statewide restrictions, including the ongoing statewide Stay At Home order.

Eleven other counties across the state remain classified as “community clusters” and remain subject to additional restrictions as deemed necessary by their respective local health departments.

Additionally Friday, Gov. Justice recognized the West Virginia Department of Military Affairs and Public Safety’s Division of Corrections and Rehabilitation, along with inmates across the state, for their recent efforts making masks to help slow the spread of COVID-19.

Inmates at Lakin Correctional Center – the state’s prison for women – as well as inmates at the Charleston Correctional Center and the Denmar Correctional Center have been making masks with materials supplied by the West Virginia National Guard.

Throughout the week, Gov. Justice alerted West Virginians to the availability of Pandemic Unemployment Assistance. PUA is an option for additional assistance benefitting workers who would otherwise not be eligible for unemployment compensation.

Applications for PUA opened Friday night. Qualified workers include self-employed workers, independent contractors, workers with insufficient work histories, gig workers, ride sharing drivers, and more.

Click here to view the WorkForce West Virginia website

Twice this week, including on Friday, Gov. Justice took part in additional conference calls with Vice President Mike Pence, members of the Coronavirus Task Force, and other governors across America to update the White House on how various states are progressing in their COVID-19 response efforts.

Gov. Justice highlighted that, according to the latest data, West Virginia’s fatality rate remains comparatively low versus the national average and is far below the rates seen in other countries.

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

Also Friday, Gov. Jim Justice sent a letter to the Director of the Federal Bureau of Prisons, urging him to reconsider a decision to transfer out-of-state inmates to their Hazelton facility in Preston County and to their facility in Gilmer County during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Click here to read the letter on the Governor’s website

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Thursday, April 23: Gov. Justice announces backlog of unemployment claims has been cleared; reports progress on mass nursing home testing
On Thursday, Gov. Justice announced that staff from Workforce West Virginia, with assistance from members of the West Virginia National Guard, have successfully cleared the massive backlog of unemployment claims that had been submitted over the past several weeks as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

More than 150,000 unemployment claims have been filed since March 1 this year. For perspective, in a typical year, WorkForce West Virginia receives an average of approximately 3,400 claims in the month of March.

“I can’t say enough for how we’ve pounded a massive round peg into a square hole in West Virginia and been able to punch out all these claims,” Gov. Justice said. “I hate like crazy that they didn’t all come out on day one. But all the people that were sitting at home worried, I hope there’s real-live relief coming your way and that all your dollars are going to be backfilled and taken care of.”

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