CHARLESTON, WV (WOWK) – To help combat the pandemic, West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice says the state decided to set up St. Francis Hospital as a COVID-19 surge center in cooperation with Thomas Health.
Secretary Bill Crouch said this will initially provide 15 beds. This number can increase as needed. This hospital will provide active short-term care for COVID-19 positive patients.
No visitors will be allowed in the center, but iPads will be provided to help patients keep in contact with their families.
During his Monday morning update, Justice also expressed his concern about the migration of COVID-19 from the south.
He said West Virginia’s southern counties have seen an increase in positive cases, which he says concerns him.
“This terrible killer is moving from the south and we see it and we’ve got to stay on our game,” he said.
Over the weekend, the Mountain State saw 239 additional cases with a 10% increase in hospitalizations from 102 to 116.
The state has seen an outbreak in Princeton Health Care Center in Mercer County, Justice said, and also the Appalachian Regional Healthcare in Beckley and the Logan County Medical Center.
State Health Officer, Dr. Ayne Amjad, MD, said the outbreak in Logan County seems to be travel related. Crouch said the state has provided personal protective equipment and cleaning to help with the outbreak.
The state is also helping test some of the county facilities including nursing homes, Crouch said.
However, on a positive note, the Mountain State churches who are experiencing outbreaks have decreased to four.
COVID GRANT FUNDING
To date, Justice says the state has awarded $4.4 million in small business grants. He says he encourages more businesses to apply.
Small businesses must have a vendor number with the state before they apply, he says.
“Get the money West Virginians,” he said.
Justice says to date West Virginia has awarded $102 million in CARES Act funding. At least 162 counties and cities have applied for funding.
The West Virginia Department of Transportation will announce medical access road projects today, Justice says, with projects in all 55 counties. The plan was coordinated with medical officials from throughout the state, he says.
In Friday’s update, Justice addressed critics saying the state did not provide testing assistance to the Princeton Health Care Center in Mercer County after an employee tested positive for COVID-19 in early July. The center has logged 42 positive COVID-19 cases and at least one death since March.
The State Department of Health and Human Resources disputes this, saying all employees and staff were tested on July 23, with some follow up testing last week.
As of 10 a.m., on Aug. 3, DHHR reports 294,902 total confirmatory laboratory results received for COVID-19, with 6,973 total cases, an increase of 119 positive cases since yesterday’s update and 117 deaths. The state currently has 1,938 active cases and at least 4,918 have recovered.