WV Gov. Jim Justice adds 4 more ‘hotspot’ counties, announces ‘hero’ bonus funding during Friday’s COVID-19 briefing

Coronavirus

CHARLESTON, W.Va. – West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice held his virtual news briefing on the state’s coronavirus response on Good Friday afternoon.

Gov. Justice said that four more counties were being added to his “hotspot” expanded executive order. Cabell, Ohio, Wayne and Wood counties were added, while Jackson County asked not to be included, feeling they have a handle on the situation, Justice said.

The governor announced that each of the state’s 55 counties will receive $100,000 each, through block grants, allowing each county to decide how it wants to reward “front-line” workers.

Justice also said $500, also through a block grant, will be given to each West Virginia National Guard member who has responded during the pandemic.

Gov. Justice said that WorkForce WV 24 will add an additional 90 people to help get unemployment claims processed faster.

Following a reporter’s question on Thursday about using the former Fairmont Regional Medical Center for the COVID-19 response, Gov. Justice said that while the state had looked at it as a possibility, it is not currently needed as a “surge” facility. Justice also said that WVU Medicine should have the building in Fairmont up and running by late May or early June. A news release from the WV National Guard said that equipment from FRMC was transferred to Saint Francis Hospital, the surge facility in Charleston.

Gov. Justice again encouraged people to not gather in crowds and to maintain social distancing during Easter observances.

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