Coronavirus Updates

Controversy over WV public health officer and COVID-19 funds

West Virginia

CHARLESTON, WV (WOWK) Dr. Cathy Slemp, who was helping oversee the state’s COVID-19 response, was asked to submit her resignation and she did.

For three months, Gov. Justice says there have been multiple discrepancies in the state’s numbers of positive COVID-19 cases.

But, he did not mention Dr. Slemp by name at his Wednesday briefing.

“You got to have passion for doing the job and doing the job right. Or you’re either dead level asleep at the switch. And I can’t be more blunt. I am not going to tolerate this,”

Gov. Jim Justice, R-WV

Justice’s re-election opponent calls it a mistake.

“This is just another failure of the Justice administration, to fire your chief health officer in the middle of a pandemic, particularly when we’re seeing a spike right now. We’re seeing a slight increase in COVID-related positives and additional deaths.”

Commissioner Ben Salango, D-Nominee for WV Governor

Kanawha County Commissioner Ben Salango also says his county wants $10 million dollars from the federal CARES Act to help small businesses, but Justice won’t comply.

“I’m just wondering if it’s on Salango for Governor stationery. Because all it is is another political stunt,” Justice said

Salango says Kanawha County was the first local government to request aid, for expenses such as testing.

“About $3.2 million in COVID-19 related expenses. To date, we’ve not received a penny. And none of the money has gone out to small businesses. We’re having small business close every single day,” Salango said.

The state has a total of $1.25 billion in federal aid to distribute.

“While COVID-19 is primarily a public health issue, it is going to become more of a political issue as we get deeper into campaign 2020,”

Mark Curtis, 13 News Chief Political Reporter

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