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:

COVID-19 Vaccine Information: vaccinate.wv.gov

World COVID-19 Data

United States COVID-19 Data

Map Credit: Johns Hopkins Center for Systems Science and Engineering

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:

  • Receive any of the three safe COVID-19 vaccines.
  • 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.
  • Wear a face covering when you are in public
  • 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

Senator Manchin is working hard to ensure that every West Virginian that wants to receive the COVID-19 vaccine can get one. We know that all three COVID-19 vaccines, Moderna, Pfizer and Johnson & Johnson are safe and effective at preventing COVID-19, especially severe illness and death. West Virginia continues to lead the country in safe and effective vaccine distribution and administration and Senator Manchin is continuously working with the Biden Administration to procure additional doses for the state.

To find out when you are eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine and to sign up to receive the COVID-19 vaccine, visit https://dhhr.wv.gov/covid-19/pages/vaccine.aspx. For more information and frequently asked questions about the COVID-19 vaccine, visit https://dhhr.wv.gov/covid-19/pages/vaccine.aspx#faq.

As more and more West Virginians and Americans receive the COVID-19 vaccine, the CDC released additional safety recommendations for fully vaccinated people.

Fully vaccinated people can:

  • Visit with other fully vaccinated people indoors without wearing masks or physical distancing
  • Visit with unvaccinated people from a single household who are at low risk for severe COVID-19 disease indoors without wearing masks or physical distancing
  • Refrain from quarantine and testing following a known exposure if asymptomatic

Fully vaccinated people should continue to:

  • Take precautions in public like wearing a well-fitted mask and physical distancing
  • Wear masks, practice physical distancing, and adhere to other prevention measures when visiting with unvaccinated people who are at increased risk for severe COVID-19 disease or who have an unvaccinated household member who is at increased risk for severe COVID-19 disease
  • Avoid medium and large-size gatherings
  • Get tested if experiencing COVID-19 symptoms
  • Follow guidance issued by individual employers
  • Follow CDC and health department travel requirements and recommendations

West Virginians who are not vaccinated should continue to follow the CDC and West Virginia Department of Health and Human Services guidelines for clear and specific social distancing and safety recommendations to protect yourself and 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.

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 or are eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine but cannot get an appointment, 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.

  • Receive any of the three safe COVID-19 vaccines.

According to the CDC, 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.

In West Virginia, people who are at higher risk of getting very sick from this illness are eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. All three vaccines COVID-19 vaccines, Moderna, Pfizer and Johnson & Johnson are safe and effective at preventing COVID-19, especially severe illness and death.

To sign up to receive the COVID-19 vaccine, visit https://dhhr.wv.gov/covid-19/pages/vaccine.aspx. For more information and frequently asked questions about the COVID-19 vaccine, visit https://dhhr.wv.gov/covid-19/pages/vaccine.aspx#faq.

West Virginia high schools will attend school in-person unless their county is red on the Department of Health and Human Resources (DHHR) County Alert Systems Map. In-person instruction may consist of blended learning models for high school students. High schools will move to remote learning the day after the DHHR County Alert System Map. To view the DHHR County Alert System Map, visit https://wvde.us/education-map/9-12-ed-map/.

For students attending school in-person, the West Virginia Department of Education and the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources recommends key mitigation strategies to keep students, teachers and administrators safe.

Key Mitigation Strategies:

  • Consist and correct use of masks
  • Hand hygiene and coughing/sneezing etiquette
  • Social distancing to the largest extent
  • Eliminate large gatherings outside of classrooms/coregroups
  • Cleaning and disinfection
  • Contact tracing in collaboration with local health departments

For more information on mitigation strategies, visit https://wvde.us/school-recovery-protocols.

The West Virginia Department of Education has created a School Re-entry Hotline (304-957-1234)  to answer questions and address concerns related to schools opening on September 8, 2020.  

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 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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