March 18, 2020

Manchin Hears From West Virginia Tourism Industry And Small Businesses On Concerns Amid Coronavirus Outbreak

Washington, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) participated in a call with the West Virginia Hospitality and Travel Association to hear their concerns about the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak.

“The tourism industry and small businesses are essential to West Virginia’s economy and right now they are making decisions that are devastating to their own businesses to help make our communities safer during the coronavirus outbreak. We have to make sure that these businesses are supported by ensuring loss of business insurance claims for pandemic emergencies are covered and that unemployment benefits are changed to a shorter waiting period and an increase in weekly allowance. I will fight for these measures and more to be included in the next coronavirus supplemental package because our economy will suffer if we do not support our tourism industry and small businesses across the nation,” said Senator Manchin.

“Tourism is crucial to the West Virginia economy. We need our government focused on solutions for the small businesses at the heart of our industry and the employees that make our businesses great so we will be able to quickly bounce back when this uncertain time comes to an end. We appreciate Senator Manchin taking the time to hear from us today and appreciate his leadership during this time. We will continue to work closely with him to ensure West Virginia workers are not left behind,” said Carol Fulks, Executive Director of the West Virginia Hospitality & Travel Association.

Senator Manchin launched an information resources page where West Virginians can learn more about the coronavirus outbreak and how to protect themselves and their families. To learn more please click here.

To receive daily updates from Senator Manchin on the coronavirus outbreak, please click here.



TRUMP press conference (11:30AM)


I would like to begin by announcing some important developments in the war against the Chinese virus. We will be invoking the defense production act just in case we need it. I think you all know what it is. It can do a lot of good things if we need it, and we will have all completed, signing it in just a little while, right after I'm finished with this conference.

Today FEMA is activated in every region. We're at level one. Level one being the highest level, which we will work with and have been working with FEMA.

We're sending upon request the two hospital ships being prepared right now, massive ships. The big white ships with the red cross on the sides. One is called "The mercy" and the other is called "The comfort." They are in tiptop shape. They will be getting ready to come up to New York. I spoke to governor Cuomo about it. He's excited about it. And we haven't made the final determinations where it's going to go on the west coast. "The comfort" is located now in San Diego, and it's going to be -- we will be picking the destinationrail shortly. So those who ships are being prepared to go and they can be launched over the next week or so, depending on need.

Today I can announce further steps to expand testing capacity. We're working with several groups to determine if the self-swab, much easier process than the current process that's not very nice to do, I can tell you because I did it, but we have a current process that's a little bit difficult, maybe you had it done, the groups are working on determining if a self-swab by an individual is as effective as the other. The other is very effective, very accurate. But we're going to see if we can do a self-swab

I've asked the fdaoo cut through the red tape and reduce regulatory barriers. We are looking at some very exciting things. I'm going to be holding a second news conference either today, we're going to talk about the fda, some things that are happening that are quite exciting

Today I'm also announcing the department of housing and urban development is providing immediate relief to renters and homeowners by suspending all foreclosures and evictions until the end of April.



it's important to remember, people without symptoms should not get tested. We want to make sure the supply of testing is there for those ththat need it most or are symptomatic or in the vulnerable population.

HHS is issuing a regulation today that will allow all doctors and medical professionals to practice across state lines to meet the needs of hospitals that may arise in adjoining areas.

we are again today asking every American and our medical community leaders and hospitals to partner with us in delaying elective procedures across the country in our health care system to ensure that medical supplies and medical capacity go where they're needed most.


Dr. DEBORAH BIRX, Coronavirus Response Coordinator

Bringing the private sector labs is crucial to this process. We're seegg they spread out in a prioritized way because we asked them to prioritize the regions that were mostly affected. So you may still have difficulty getting tests in areas that do not have significant cases. We had them prioritize the regions where they need diagnosis

The last numbers we've seen have a 7-plus percent positive rate. Still, 93 plus percent are negative but that's encouraging to me that we're prioritizing appropriately to the areas with the greatest need



the department of defense will make available up to 5 million n95 respirator masks and other equipment from our own strategic reserves to the department of health and human services for distribution. The first 1 million masks will be available immediately.

We're also prepared to distribute up to HHS up to 2,000 operational deployable ventilators for use as needed.

Additionally, I have directed as as the president mentioned the ships "Mercy" and omfort" be prepared to deploy to help the nation's capacity and averted a variety of filled and expeditionary hospitals to be deployed as needed based on direction from the commander in chief.



We began I think we were the first system to begin triaging across the country in our 170 hospitals the entrance of anyone into our facility without being questioned or tested. We expanded those restrictions to those in our 135 community living centers, which have about 7,800 veterans who are in acute -- acute conditions make sure that they were protected.

we cut back by one third of number of routine appointments we had, had. And we have canceled elective surgeries.

Our fourth mission is to support the federal government in times of national disasters and pandemics. We are the buttress force in case FEMA or HHS calls on us to deploy medical professionals to meet crises. We plan for that every day. We're gaining out emergency preparedness scenarios and we stand ready when the president needs us to expand our mission.



We will see the number of people diagnosed dramatically increase over the next 45 days. I know some of you -- four to five days. I know some of you will use that to raise an alarm that we are worth in Italy. To every American out there, it will be five to six days worth of tests being run in 24 to 48 hours. Our curve will not be stable until sometime next week.


TRUMP on young people

We don't want them gathering, and I see them gather on beaches and restaurants, young people. They don't realize, they are feeling invincible. I don't know if you felt invincible when you were very young. They don't realize that they can be carrying lots of bad things home to grandmother and grandfather and even their parents. We want them to heed the advice. We mean the advice. I do believe it is getting through.



JUSTICE press conference (2:30PM)


We’ve got to volunteer to stay apart from each other.

I want to salute all the congressional help going on now. Everybody is helping and I really appreciate all that they are doing.

There’s rumors going around everywhere. Please let’s stop the silly rumors.

One thing we’re doing is we’re looking at hospitals that are closed. If I can get to Trump or Pence today I’m going to impress upon them that if we can get the equipment for a potential catastrophe situation and we could move it into a facility and have it ready on standby, we need to look at that. I don’t know if we’ll be able to get that done but we are looking at it.

Our grocery and drug stores are going to be open. We don’t need to panic. We don’t need to panic buy. We need to stay calm and be smart.

In the last 24 hours there have been a lot of things change. In the last 24 hours we have asked for 2 weeks to close all restaurants and casinos. Today we will ask all gyms health clubs and rec centers close for 2 weeks.

We’ve got to keep the essential parts going but we’ve got to go home. We’ve got to get away from each other.

If grocery store is full, don’t go there. Go back later.

I urge you to have confidence that we’ve got this and we’re going to stay on top of it but we’ve got to have you helping one another

Personnel policy – we have got to entrust all our secretaries of cabinet members to do the right things. Telling secretaries to work everybody work from home.

Every day that goes by we get better. If we continue to listen to what I’m telling you we’ll be better and better. If we don’t, people will die because of our lack of volunteerism in trying to keep us apart. Our power if we don’t use it will cost people lives. That’s all there is to it. And we won’t be able to bring them back.

1,200 filed for unemployment yesterday. 5,300 files in the month of February. And it’s going to get worse.

STEVE ROBERTS: Our most sophisticated employers are taking this very seriously. Many are working from home.

HOYER: Feeding system going well. They’re making some modifications.

Non emergency needs – VOAD has activated WV 211 for people who need assistance. VOAD will coordinate resources.

DR. CROUCH – I have to thank our two senators. Senator Manchin and Senator Capito have called me multiple times a day. I spoke to both of them before 10am this morning. They called me to again ask what they could do. Actually last night I got a call from Senator Manchin leaving the press conference who said he was speaking with the VP within 10 minutes and needed to know some of the items we needed in WV. I then got a call last night from an assistant secretary for HHS. We provided a detailed list and got a call from his assistant this morning who held on the phone while we got an address for the DHHR dock to make sure they could ship some items immediately. So we are looking for more swabs and transport media. There are different departments responsible for different things so we are in communication.

I’m pushing to get mobile units to get drive through and walk through testing.

CATHY SLEMP: We’re excited to see commercial labs expending. WE are surveying hospitals and asking if they are using commercial testing and many are. And some hospitals are testing. WE are asking for additional supplies to we can move forward in additional ways.

The first patient’s exposure was out of state. The health care system was phenomenal in how they triaged the patient and did the right things.


CROUCH: (on reporter’s Q about Manchin press release calling on Justice to keep FRMC open) I don’t have n update on FRMC. The governor has asked me to look at all options. So that is something we’re looking at and will begin looking at much more closely in the coming days.