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4/3 Morning Briefing

Morning Briefing

4/3/2020

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: 4/2/2020- 26 New Reported Cases

217  Total Positive Cases

5276 Total Negative Cases

2 Total Deaths

Counties with positive cases: Barbour (1), Berkeley (27), Cabell (3), Greenbrier (3), Hancock (5), Hardy (2), Harrison (17), Jackson (11), Jefferson (12), Kanawha (39), Logan (4), Marion (10), Marshall (4), Mason (3), Mercer (3), Monongalia (35), Morgan (1), Ohio (10), Pendleton (1), Pleasants (1), Preston (3), Putnam (5), Raleigh (3), Randolph (2), Roane (2), Tucker (3), Upshur (1), Wetzel (2), Wirt (1), Wood (3).

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.

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.

CHARLESTON, WV – Gov. Jim Justice joined State health leaders 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).

Saying that West Virginia “is still trending the right way” when it comes to the number of COVID-19 cases in the state, Gov. Jim Justice reminded state citizens to “keep doing the good work you have by washing your hands, keeping your hands away from your face and practicing social distancing” while also praising again health care and front line personnel for helping to “minimize the number of deaths and sickness” from the pandemic.

West Virginia’s second death attributable to COVID-19 was confirmed Wednesday in Jackson County, and Gov. Justice asked all residents to “keep the family, friends and loved ones” of this victim “in your thoughts and prayers.”

The number of positive tests for COVID-19 in West Virginia continues to stay at the level of approximately four percent.

Gov. Justice also said, despite a letter from some legislative leaders calling for cancellation of the rest of the school year, that he was “not ready to throw the towel in yet.

“I’m not going to deny our kids some sort of hope of going back to school,” Gov. Justice said. “I’m going to keep listening to the experts and I can assure you I would never put our kids, teachers and service personnel back in schools until it is totally safe and totally sound. But we don’t have to make a decision today on the rest of the school year.”

 

 

Public Notice: New Dates for 2020 Primary Election Published

West Virginia Secretary of State Mac Warner would like the public to be aware of the changes in dates and deadlines for the 2020 Primary Election, which will now be held on June 9.

On Wednesday, Governor Jim Justice moved the Primary Election back 28 days from May 12 to June 9. Information regarding the upcoming election, including how to register to vote and vote absentee, can be found at GoVoteWV.com.

A shareable social media graphic of the dates is attached. The updated dates and deadlines are as follows:

• Jan. 1 – June 3: Eligible voters may apply for a Primary Election absentee ballot
• April 24: County Clerks to begin mailing absentee ballots to voters who have submitted absentee applications to county clerks
• May 14 – 20: Sample ballots published in local newspapers throughout the state (publication dates will vary by county)
• May 19: Voter Registration Deadline
• May 27 – June 6: Early Voting In-Person period
• June 2 – 8: Official List of Candidates or Sample Ballot published in local newspapers throughout the state (publication dates will vary by county)
• June 3: Deadline to submit Absentee-by-Mail Application (must be received by county clerk on this date)
• June 8: Deadline to hand-deliver Absentee Ballot to County Clerk’s office
• June 9: Deadline to mail Absentee Ballot to county clerk (must be postmarked by this date)
• June 9: Primary Election Day (in-person voting locations may differ from regular polling location during COVID-19 pandemic; contact county clerk for more information)
• June 10: Absentee Ballots mailed without a postmark accepted (absentee ballots without a postmark cannot be counted if received by county clerk after this date)
• June 15: Start of Canvass (absentee ballots postmarked by Election Day will be accepted if received by the start of Canvass)

All registered voters will receive an application to request an absentee ballot for the June 9 Primary Election from their County Clerk by mail-in early-to-mid April. Absentee request forms can also be printed from GoVoteWV.com or obtained by requesting a form from your County Clerk by email, phone, fax or in person.

In an effort to ensure access to a ballot while keeping voters, election workers, and the public safe during the Primary Election, Secretary Warner recommends that voters use the absentee ballot process to vote.

Always remember to consult only trusted sources for election information, which are the West Virginia Secretary of State’s Office and your local county clerk. County clerk contact information is located at GoVoteWV.com. The WVSOS Elections Division can be reached at elections@wvsos.gov or by phone at 304-558-6000.

SCHOOLS SUPERINTENDENT ANNOUNCES NEW TV PROGRAM DESIGNED TO HELP EDUCATE KIDS

State Schools Superintendent Clayton Burch added that he was “disheartened” after learning of the letter to the Governor and said maintaining a “single” message and being as “optimistic as we can” with our kids is crucial to their well-being.

Superintendent Burch said in the meantime keeping our students’ skills sharp and staying engaged with them and their families as much as possible is vital, and as a result, the West Virginia Department of Education and West Virginia Public Broadcasting have partnered up and will begin offering 30-minute educational segments that WVPB will broadcast every Tuesday and Thursday between 9 and 9:30 am.

Students can tune in for short lessons from state educators in the core subject areas. This also gives families ideas for educational activities they can do with their children.

“This is a great example of how our state agencies continue to work together and support one another and the general public during this pandemic,” Gov. Justice said.

COVID-19 CZAR SAYS EVERY DAY WEST VIRGINIANS STAY VIGILANT IT WILL REDUCE EFFECTS OF CORONAVIRUS

“Our future will be written by what we keep doing, not by what we’ve done,” Dr. Clay Marsh, the state’s COVID-19 czar, said during the briefing. Dr. Marsh also encouraged citizens to use face coverings of some sort – masks, scarves, etc. – to also help reduce the transmission of droplets that could be virus-laden.

“Do the good work, follow what the Governor is asking us to do and it will reduce the need for critical care beds and deaths in West Virginia.”

 

ADJUTANT GENERAL URGES CITIZENS TO DOUBLE DOWN ON HYGIENE, SOCIAL DISTANCING; SPEAKS ABOUT INNOVATIVE WORK BEING DONE TO REDUCE SPREAD OF VIRUS

“Doubling down on the things you’ve been doing is exceptionally important and will help us break the curve,” said Maj. Gen. James Hoyer of the West Virginia National Guard.

Maj. Gen. Hoyer said “innovative ways to reduce the spread of the virus and to protect our front line workers” are being identified and taught to workers in essential business locations.

He said more than 420 Soldiers and Airmen are now on duty supporting COVID-19 response efforts across the state. Over the last 24 hours, West Virginia Guard Soldiers, in conjunction with the Department of Health and Human Resources, have made significant headway on contact tracing and data analysis for the tracking of COVID-19 spread through over 430 engagements and eight expedited specimen transfers.

Experts from the Guard’s Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear (CBRN) Response Enterprise (CRE) task force are conducting 20 training missions today for retailers, food establishments and convenience stores in proper cargo, box handling, and PPE wear.

“We are also continuing our mission of supporting the most vulnerable populations in the state and in the last 24 hours, we packed over 2,000 meals at the Mountaineer and Facing Hunger Food Banks. A refrigerated truck and team from the WVNG will assist with the delivery of 5,500 meals to Ohio County today,” Maj. Gen. Hoyer added.

“Critical medical supplies from the national stockpile were distributed yesterday to all 55 counties and 275 gallons of hand sanitizer has been provided to the Bureau of Senior Services.”

Read more here. 

DHHR DISCUSSES ABUSE REPORTING, FAMILY RESOURCES, NEW EDUCATION AND LEARNING PROGRAM

“April is Child Abuse Prevention month and under normal circumstances, many cases of abuse and neglect are reported by teachers, childcare providers, and others who come into contact with children outside the home,” said Department of Health and Human Resources Secretary Bill Crouch. “During this period of social distancing and Governor Justice’s stay-at-home order, it’s vital that neighbors and family members continue to look out for each other. If you suspect any case of abuse or neglect of a child or vulnerable adult, please report it to 1-800-352-6513.”

Sec. Crouch also said that “almost all benefits DHHR offers can be made online through www.WVPATH.org and you can also find ways to access local resources in your area by finding the contact information for your county’s Family Resource Network at www.WVFRN.org

“We are expecting more cases and more hospitalizations and it is extremely hard to be prepared for this,” Sec. Crouch added. “But we are working on it and working on back-up plans as well. I would also just say be cautious and keep practicing good hygiene.”

State Health Officer Cathy Slemp said a new education and learning program has been developed at West Virginia University and she encouraged citizens to explore the details that are available here.

ATTORNEY GENERAL ENCOURAGES CITIZENS TO CONTACT HIS OFFICE IF THEY EXPERIENCE PRICE GOUGING, LANDLORD-TENANT ISSUES

Attorney General Patrick Morrissey complimented workers for the “Herculean effort they are making” across West Virginia to “keep stores stocked with food and other critical supplies” during this crisis.

He also said that if citizens should experience price gouging, landlord-tenant issues or other consumer problems to contact his office and that they will investigate every claim.

The West Virginia Attorney General’s Consumer Protection hotline is toll-free at 1-800-368-8808 or online at ago.wv.gov

RURAL WATER ASSOCIATION PSA

Gov. Justice passed along a public service announcement from the West Virginia Rural Water Association reminding all West Virginians not to flush disinfecting wipes down the toilet, only flush toilet paper.

Flushing wipes, paper towels and similar products down toilets will clog sewers and cause backups and overflows, especially at our rural wastewater treatment facilities, creating an additional public health risk in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic.

WorkForce West Virginia encourages patience while waiting for CARES Act benefits continues to process state unemployment benefits

WorkForce West Virginia is encouraging employees who believe they are eligible for programs under the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act to remain patient as the agency awaits guidelines for distributing benefits.

WorkForce West Virginia has extended hours to process the influx of regular state unemployment benefits. Employees are now working from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., six days a week. The agency also is being helped by 10 members of the West Virginia National Guard, who will help respond to callers with questions about the CARES Act and how to file for unemployment.

Click here to learn more about filing for unemployment.

The fastest way to file for benefits is online at www.workforcewv.org. A step-by-step guide to filing an initial claim may be found by going to the Unemployment section of WorkForce’s website and then clicking the Claimants tab. Those who do not have internet access, have a disability requiring assistive technology or need further assistance should call 1-800-252-JOBS.

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