CHARLESTON, W.Va. – West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice and state officials resumed their virtual news briefings on the state’s response to the coronavirus Monday afternoon.
Gov. Justice began by announcing the state’s third and fourth COVID-19-related deaths. The third, a resident at Sundale Nursing Home, in Morgantown, was first announced Sunday. Justice did not offer any details on the fourth death during Monday’s briefing. However, following Justice’s briefing later Monday afternoon, the Harrison-Clarksburg Health Department confirmed Harrison County’s first coronavirus-related death. It is currently assumed that this is the state’s fourth COVID-19 death.
The governor then went over the executive order he extended to Harrison, Kanawha and Monongalia counties, which along with the eastern panhandle have had the highest number of confirmed cases. Gov. Justice said county health department officials in the “hotspot” counties are encouraged to call local and state law enforcement if they see people or businesses not following the executive order.
Justice also said that he’s addressed complaints about delays in unemployment filings through WorkForce WV and that the agency will now be operating 24 hours a day. West Virginia National Guard members are helping with this effort, officials said. A WorkForce WV employee has tested positive for coronavirus, but the diagnosis has not affected the agency’s call center, Justice said.
Justice also mentioned a positive test result at the Eastbrook Nursing Home, in Kanawha County.
The state has tested a higher percentage of its residents than all but one of the surrounding states, Justice said, and has a lower rate of positive cases than the neighboring states.
WV National Guard Maj. Gen. James Hoyer said that efforts were under way to use approved methods, in hospitals, to sanitize N95 masks, so that they can be re-used.
WV DHHR officials touted the agency’s updated COVID-19 website. When asked if recoveries were going to be added to the site, DHHR officials said they were looking at adding additional data to the site, but did not commit that recoveries would be added.