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4/2 Morning Briefing

Morning Briefing

4/2/2020

We are still under the National State of Emergency

Gov. Jim Justice’s “Stay At Home” order issued on March 23, 2020, is still in effect. It directs all West Virginia residents to stay at home and limit movements outside of their homes beyond essential needs. Non-essential Businesses and operations must temporarily cease operations.

Cases of COVID 19 in West Virginia

Updated: 4/1/2020- 29 New Reported Cases

191 Total Positive Cases

4384 Total Negative Cases

2 Total Deaths

Counties with positive cases: Barbour (1), Berkeley (21), Cabell (1), Greenbrier (3), Hancock (6), Hardy (1), Harrison (14), Jackson (11), Jefferson (9), Kanawha (37), Logan (3), Marion (8), Marshall (4), Mason (3), Mercer (2), Monongalia (32), Morgan (1), Ohio (11), Pleasants (1), Preston (3), Putnam (5), Raleigh (3), Randolph (1), Roane (2), Tucker (2), Upshur (1), Wetzel (2), Wirt (1), Wood (2).

 

The 2nd death was reported out of Jackson County. The patient had several underlying health issues and passed away in the hospital,

DHHR is the official reporting agency for COVID-19, which in turn provides official case numbers to the CDC. Medical providers are required to report test results to their local health departments, which provide them to DHHR, and commercial/private labs are also required to report test results to DHHR. However, the reporting of negative and pending tests to DHHR has been inconsistent, thus causing a delay in official reporting.

Where can I get a test? Please note that this is not a comprehensive list; there may be more testing sites out there that are added daily. – Source  Senator Joe Manchin 

Click here to view the list of current 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.

 

COVID-19 UPDATE: Gov. Justice signs executive order to move Primary Election to June 9 after consultation with Attorney General, Secretary of State

Click here to view more content
CHARLESTON, WV – Gov. Jim Justice joined State health leaders, officials from his administration, Attorney General Patrick Morrisey, and Secretary of State Mac Warner at the Capitol Complex in Charleston today for a virtual press briefing to once again update the public on the many measures being taken in the interest of protecting the public from the spread of novel coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).

Gov. Jim Justice announced Wednesday that after consulting with the state’s medical experts, along with Secretary of State Mac Warner and Attorney General Patrick Morrisey, West Virginia’s 2020 Primary Election is being moved to June 9 instead of the originally scheduled date of May 12.

View the Executive Order here.

“I want everyone to know this, the privilege of voting is so important and I support allowing the people of West Virginia to vote by every way possible,” Gov. Justice said. “Like our seniors, who take great pride in going to the polls like they have all their lives. I don’t want to take that away from them.

“Now I asked my medical experts, based on where we are today with COVID-19, can the people of West Virginia safely vote in the primary election on May 12 at their polling place?

“They told me no,” Gov. Justice stated. “So today, after working closely with our great Secretary of State and Attorney General, we are announcing a 27-day delay in the election. I will sign the executive order today.

“The new primary election date is Tuesday, June 9, 2020, and I hope this is the largest turnout ever! During both peace and war, Americans always vote. I will always support West Virginians voting in every way possible.”

Secretary of State Warner said his office continues to work in conjunction with county clerks across the state and that details for the new election day are being finalized. He encouraged citizens to seek more information to go to the Secretary of State’s website. Gov. Justice also commended the county clerks for their work, especially in these difficult times.

Election information will be posted to the Secretary of State’s website, GoVoteWV.com

Attorney General Morrisey confirmed that Gov. Justice has the power to change the date of the election and that he believes the decision unquestionably “protects and defends the constitutional rights of West Virginians” while also protecting the “health and safety” of our citizens and poll workers.

SCHOOL CLOSURE EXTENDED

Gov. Justice said that he has also spoken with State Schools Superintendent Clayton Burch and is extending the statewide school closure through April 30, in conjunction with President Donald J. Trump’s most recent declaration.

“We are still very, very hopeful that we can go back to school this year for two to three weeks,” Gov. Justice indicated. “I think that would be a real benefit for our teachers and students, provide some closure to the school year and get some instructions out for the summer.”

STATE COVID-19 CZAR PROVIDES UPDATE

Dr. Clay Marsh, West Virginia’s COVID-19/Coronavirus Czar, said that after President Trump’s medical experts placed the possible U.S. Death toll at between 100,000 and 240,000, it should “give us pause” but reminded West Virginians we still have the power to significantly reduce the effects of the pandemic in our state.

“We can write our story, we have the control, but we’ve got to keep doing the things we have been to reduce the person-to-person spread, stay six feet away from each other, stay at home and protect each other. They are simple rules but we need to just remain responsible.”

DHHR SECRETARY, STATE PUBLIC HEALTH OFFICER PROVIDE UPDATES

DHHR Secretary Bill Crouch said during the briefing that the “Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services announced regulatory changes to help the US Healthcare System address the COVID-19 patient surge. It allows an increase in hospital capacity; allows hospitals to rapidly expand the healthcare workforce; puts patients over paperwork; and further promotes telehealth, more information is available at www.cms.gov.

“DHHR is also stepping up efforts in planning for alternate care site settings in Charleston at St. Francis Hospital/Thomas Health System and Fairmont Regional Medical Center while continuing to coordinate efforts with medical providers, hospitals, nursing homes, long-term care centers across the state.”

State Public Health Officer Dr. Cathy Slemp said work on data critical to managing the pandemic in West Virginia keeps progressing and while the situation continually changes everything is being done to provide updated public guidance to assist in keeping things manageable.

View the most recent testing numbers from DHHR here.

NATIONAL GUARD ACTIVATES MORE SOLDIERS, CONTINUES SUPPORT ACROSS THE SPECTRUM

Maj. Gen. James Hoyer, Adjutant General of the West Virginia National Guard, said 400 soldiers are now mobilized throughout the state and they continue to provide guidance, support, and assistance across the spectrum.

Hoyer said in addition to continuing the coordination and movement of supplies, the Guard is working hand-in-hand with the DHHR on regional epidemiology work, contact source tracking, and investigations.

“Medical supplies are being delivered to locations in all 55 counties today,” Gen. Hoyer said.

The Guard is also partnering with West Virginia University and Marshall University “making National Guard equipment available” to assist those entities in telemedicine efforts in rural areas that are difficult to establish communication in.

Training on decontamination and sanitation, and proper handling procedures, is also being done in conjunction with retail and food establishments, and other sites handling food and other supplies. Delivery of thousands of meals statewide also continues.

Read more here. 

MARCH REVENUE REPORT

Gov. Justice also reported that the state’s revenue collections in March were nearly $12.3 million above estimate and 8.9% ahead of last year. This corresponds to year-to-date collections of more than $3.3 billion and overall are at more than 99.8% of the year-to-date estimate and 0.3% ahead of last year. The shortfall for Fiscal Year 2020, is slightly more than $6.4 million.

“This was some good news and a bright light today, however, we all realize that given the events created by the COVID-19 pandemic that the numbers for the final quarter of our current fiscal year are in flux,” Gov. Justice said. “Secretary Hardy and our people at revenue are monitoring the situation every day and we will have more information in the days ahead. But I do believe that with federal dollars that are now beginning to flow into our state that it’s going to bridge us with enough of a backstop where we don’t experience significant harm.”

Other March revenue collection highlights include:

  • Personal income tax collections were more than $9.6 million above estimate in March. Cumulative collections were 2.0% ahead of last year.
  • January-March wage and salary withholding tax payments were up by 4.1%, the best quarter of this fiscal year
  • Consumer sales tax collections were slightly above estimate in March and nearly $3.9 million above estimate for the year-to-date with a cumulative growth rate of 2.3%
  • Severance tax collections were $3 million above estimate in March. Cumulative collections remain 30.8% below last year.
  • General Revenue Fund severance tax collections were $98.7 million below prior year collections. All other collections were collectively $109.2 million (3.7%) higher than last year
  • Corporate net income tax collections were more than $4.6 million above estimate in March. Cumulative collections were 14.6% ahead of last year
  • Tobacco tax collections were $4.4 million above estimate in March
CENSUS DAY 

Gov. Justice also reminded West Virginians that today, April 1, is Census Day in the United States.

“Please make sure you are counted,” Gov. Justice said. “Federal dollars for our state are essential and we need to make sure that every single person living here is accounted for so we get our fair share.”

2020census.gov

EXECUTIVE ORDER 19-20 SIGNED TODAY

Today, at the request of West Virginia Auditor John B. “JB” McCuskey, Gov. Jim Justice signed an executive order that suspends several regulatory statute provisions that relate to the extension of the West Virginia income tax filing and payment deadline announced on March 25, 2020, and allows additional methods of payment to redeem tax liens.

View the Executive Order here. 

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