Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19): What West Virginians Need To Know

WV Strong . . . .In times of uncertainty, and even tragedy, West Virginians have always risen to the challenge and done what it takes to get each other back on our feet. We set the standard in the nation for what it means to be a statewide community. It is with that same spirit that I want you all to know that my staff stands ready to help you navigate this challenge as best we can. From breaking down the funding package to show what every West Virginian and business can expect in the days ahead, to promoting volunteerism opportunities and showcasing all your hard work - all of that information will be updated on my website and in my daily newsletter. To contact my office, you can reach out to 304-342-5855 and leave a message or email me at common_sense@manchin.senate.gov. A member of my staff will reach back out to you as soon as they can. If we don't know the answer, we'll do our best to find it for you. No matter what the next days or weeks bring, it is vital that we not only stay the tight-knit community we've always been, but that we're smart about it and we do it safely.  I know we'll get through this challenge together and I stand ready to help in any way I can. Stay WV Strong.

- Joe

Below are COVID-19 resources specific to West Virginia. Click the button below that pertains to you to learn more:

World COVID-19 Data

United States COVID-19 Data

Map Credit: Johns Hopkins Center for Systems Science and Engineering

Statewide Dashboard

20200518 Manchin Dashboard

Summary

The United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and other governmental agencies are responding to an outbreak of respiratory disease caused by a novel (new) coronavirus that was first detected in China and which has now been detected in many countries around the world, including in the United States. Reported illnesses have ranged from mild symptoms (including fever, cough, and shortness of breath) to severe illness and death for confirmed COVID-19 cases.

The most important thing West Virginians can do right now is don’t panic, take everyday preventive actions to help stop the spread of germs, and follow the advice of our public health professionals, including the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

To help prevent the spread of disease, including COVID-19, the CDC recommends taking the following actions:

  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Avoid social gatherings of more than 10 people.
  • Stay home and avoid all nonessential travel within the United States. This includes travel of any distance (across town, state and country) by air, bus, train and car.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.
  • Follow CDC’s recommendations for using a facemask.
    • CDC does not recommend that people who are well wear a facemask to protect themselves from respiratory diseases, including COVID-19.
    • Facemasks should be used by people who show symptoms of COVID-19 to help prevent the spread of the disease to  others. The use of facemasks is also crucial for health workers and people who are taking care of someone in close settings (at home or in a health care facility).
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
    • If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol. Always wash hands with soap and water if hands are visibly dirty.
    • Learn more: CDC Handwashing Fact Sheet

After speaking with Dr. Anthony Fauci, the Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, to discuss the situation in West Virginia, Senator Manchin is sharing the follwing clear and specific social distancing and safety recommendations every West Virginian should be implementing to slow the spread of the COVID-19 virus.

  • Self-isolation – Anyone older than 60, children, or those with underlying health conditions should stay home. While this is difficult for us as West Virginians, it means not visiting vulnerable grandparents or having large family gatherings until this threat subsides.
  • Testing – Any person experiencing COVID-19 symptoms should be able to get a test. However, due to supply chain limitations that is not possible right now. Senator Manchin is in constant communication with officials to secure more testing for West Virginia. Until more tests are available, continue to request a physician’s order for a test. Senator Manchin is advocating for the more than 200 West Virginians who have already contacted him with symptoms and are unable to get a test, or who have not received their test results. A member of his staff will keep in touch with each person daily until symptoms resolve, they receive a test or receive test results.
  • Telework – Every West Virginian who is able to telework should do so.
  • Shiftwork – For essential services where employers are unable to telework, employers should institute shiftwork to ensure six feet of distance between employees at all times.  
  • Tourism  Anything that would attract groups of visitors should be avoided for at least the next two weeks.
  • Medical Equipment – Equipment is in short supply across the country and here in West Virginia. Senator Manchin is working with federal officials and private industries to get hospitals, health clinics, nursing homes, rehab facilities and first responders the equipment they need to do their jobs safely. This is also an opportunity for West Virginians, to assist in this effort by making masks for hospitals, health clinics and first responders. 
  • Food and Supplies – Supply chain issues will not be a problem. West Virginians should go to the grocery store to get what they need. Be respectful and do not hoard food or supplies.
  • Hygiene – Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing. If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol. Always wash hands with soap and water if hands are visibly dirty. Avoid touching your hands to your face.

There is currently no vaccine to prevent COVID-19 and no specific antiviral treatment recommended for COVID-19.

West Virginians with additional questions about COVID-19 can call the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources' toll-free COVID-19 hotline at 1-800-887-4304 for accurate information about COVID-19, the risk to the public, and the state’s response.

If you are a West Virginian and are suffering symptoms of COVID-19 (fever, cough, shortness of breath) & cannot get tested, please email common_sense@manchin.senate.gov or leave a voicemail at 304-342-5855. A member of my staff will receive your message & get in contact with you.

According to the CDC, early information out of China, where COVID-19 first started, shows that some people are at higher risk of getting very sick from this illness. This includes:

  • Older adults
  • People who have serious chronic medical conditions like:
    • Heart disease
    • Diabetes
    • Lung disease

The CDC recommends the elderly and those at higher risk of becoming seriously ill from COVID-19 STAY HOME and away from other people.

More information for those at higher risk of serious illness can be found here: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/specific-groups/high-risk-complications.html

Governor Jim Justice has closed schools statewide. Parents and guardians should monitor local media of the West Virginia Department of Education's COVID-19 information page (https://wvde.us/covid19/) for updates.

The West Virginia Department of Education has developed a statewide list of feeding sites for students to receive a free meal during the school closure. More information can be found here: https://wvde.us/covid19/feeding-site-information/. Additional questions should be directed to your local county board of education.

A map of public Wi-Fi hotspots in West Virginia has been created by the West Virginia Broadband Enhancement Council. Visit https://broadband.wv.gov/west-virginia-wifi-locations/ to find a map of public Wi-Fi hotspots.

Front-line healthcare personnel in the United States should be prepared to evaluate patients for coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). The CDC has prepared a Healthcare Personnel Preparedness Checklist for COVID-19: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/hcp/hcp-personnel-checklist.html

The FDA is providing a hotline (1-888-INFO-FDA) that is available 24 hours a day for labs to call regarding difficulties obtaining supplies for collecting patient samples for COVID-19 testing, including swabs, media needed for transport, and conservation of the samples. We also encourage labs to reach out at CDRH-EUA-Templates@fda.hhs.gov with any questions related to diagnostic development.

The Department of Treasury and the IRS have announced further guidance with regards to the upcoming tax filing deadline. On March 20, 2020, the federal filing and tax payment deadline were moved from April 15, 2020 until July 15, 2020.

The Department of the Treasury and the IRS are still encouraging citizens to file their taxes as soon as possible to be able to issue refunds to people in a timely fashion. For those responsible for federal tax payments, all individuals and non-corporate tax filers can defer up to $1 million of federal income tax (including the self-employment tax) payments until July 15, 2020, without penalties or interest, while corporate taxpayers will be able to defer up to $10 million of federal income tax payments.

To view resources from the IRS with regards to filing your taxes, Click here

The Department of Health and Human Services and the Federal Emergency Management Agency have launched a web site for companies looking to sell medical supplies, equipment or services as part of the COVID-19 response: https://www.fema.gov/coronavirus/how-to-help.

Specifically it provides some contacts for businesses:

  • To sell medical supplies or equipment to the federal government, please email specifics to nbeoc@fema.dhs.gov
  • You can also register through the System for Award Management (SAM) website.  All companies desiring to do business with the federal government must register, at no cost, with SAM. 
  • For non-medical supplies, services or equipment, if you are interested in doing business with FEMA, visit the Industry Liaison Program webpage.

U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html

Food and Drug Administration: https://www.fda.gov/emergency-preparedness-and-response/mcm-issues/coronavirus-disease-2019-covid-19

U.S. Department of State: https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/traveladvisories/ea/covid-19-information.html

Department of Veterans Affairs: https://www.publichealth.va.gov/n-coronavirus/

Federal Trade Commission Consumer Information: https://www.consumer.ftc.gov/blog/2020/02/coronavirus-scammers-follow-headlines

U.S. Small Business Administration Disaster Loan Assistance: https://disasterloan.sba.gov/ela/

U.S. Department of Agriculture COVID-19 Federal Resource Guide: https://www.rd.usda.gov/sites/default/files/USDA_COVID-19_Fed_Rural_Resource_Guide.pdf

WV Department of Health and Human Resources: http://www.coronavirus.wv.gov/

WV Department of Education: https://wvde.us/covid19/

West Virginia University: https://coronavirus.wvu.edu

Marshall University: https://www.marshall.edu/coronavirus

Preventing COVID-19 Spread in Communities (CDC): https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/community/index.html

COVID-19 Self-Help and Recovery Resources (WV DHHR): https://dhhr.wv.gov/bhhf/Documents/WV%20Guide%20for%20Peer%20Support%20Resources%20During%20COVID-19.pdf

Johns Hopkins University Coronavirus Map: https://coronavirus.jhu.edu/map.html

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