Gov. Jim Justice began Wednesday’s regular media briefing on a somber note with the announcement that 10 more West Virginians have succumbed to the disease. The youngest of the recently deceased was 70-years old.
“Do you not feel, all across West Virginia, you may be in high school, or you may be working your way to begin your career, or working in your early 20s. Or you may be middle-aged and your family is just doing great and everything. Do we not feel like, that by some way, somehow, we’re letting these people down?” the Governor said, before continuing to stress his point. “While this virus or disease or killer can surely attack the young, the elderly are the number one target.”
Justice concluded his statements regarding the elderly with an impassioned plea, “I ask you please, over and over and over, please help these people. Please take the responsibility to step up. Because these people deserve it, and we’re losing them.”
In recent weeks, Justice has renewed his call for strict adherence to the mask-wearing and social distancing guidelines.
The state’s RT-rate, which indicates the level that the virus reproduces and infects others, has decreased slightly, and is now at 1.22%. For over a week, W.Va. has had the highest RT-rate in the nation, but has now dropped to the third highest behind Wisconsin and Delaware.
“We’re getting a little better,” Gov. Justice said. “But we’ve got a long, long, long way to go.”
From there, the Governor moved on to better news. As Gov. Justice put it, W.Va. has “solved the riddle of childcare.”
Under the CARES Act, West Virginia was allotted $23-million to provide support for the state’s childcare network. However, it was announced last month that the funds had been depleted, and the program was scheduled to end on September 30.
“We’ve been working really hard and trying to find a better way through DHHR so that we could continue this on if the Federal government drops this off because we feel like this is really important,” Justice said.
Under the Justice’s previous executive-order, the families of 3,400 people deemed as ‘essential workers’ in W.Va. have been serviced through the funding. Gov. Justice feels there is a chance that the Federal government will “back-fill” the fund by replenishing what the state plans to spend. But “even if they don’t, we’ve got the money, we’ve got it figured out.”
“Today I am really excited to announce that we have committed another $6-million in funding to continue this program through the end of the year,” Justice said.