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Coronavirus Update: W.Va. plan to ‘reopen’ is officially underway; guidelines released

Release from the Office of the Governor:

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — West Virginia Gov. Justice announced on Wednesday that, for the third consecutive day, the statewide cumulative rate of positive coronavirus test results remained below 3 percent, meaning that the his six-week plan to reopen the state – “West Virginia Strong – The Comeback” – is officially underway.

View the latest COVID-19 testing data at Coronavirus.wv.gov

The “Week 1” phase of reopenings will begin today, Thursday, April 30, 2020, at 12:01 a.m.

“We have witnessed a miracle and the miracle has been you, West Virginians. You’ve listened, you’ve responded, you’ve kept your distance, you’ve absolutely pushed all the right buttons as we’ve gone along, and you’ve produced numbers that are unprecedented,” Gov. Justice said. “Now we’ve got to bring our state back to life.”

In Week 1, outpatient health care operations may resume for facilities regulated by Licensing Boards contained in WV Code Chapter 30, including:

  • Acupuncture Professionals
  • Chiropractors
  • Counselors
  • Dentists
  • Dietitians
  • Hearing-Aid Dealers and Fitters
  • Licensed Practical Nurses
  • Medical Imaging and Radiation Therapy Professionals
  • Doctors of Medicine and Doctors of Osteopathic Medicine
  • Occupational Therapists
  • Optometrists 
  • Pharmacists
  • Physical Therapists
  • Psychologists
  • Registered Professional Nurses
  • Respiratory Professionals
  • Social Workers
  • Speech-Language Pathologists

Also in Week 1, daycare services across the state will be able to resume, provided that enhanced testing procedures are put in place at each of these facilities.

These reopenings are in addition to the resumption of elective medical procedures at hospitals across West Virginia, as ordered by Gov. Justice last week. During his remarks, Gov. Justice announced that the DHHR has approved applications for 39 hospitals and five ambulatory surgical centers across the state.

Hospitals seeking to resume elective procedures must have adequate inventories of personal protective equipment (PPE) and a plan to respond if there is a surge of COVID-19 patients in the future. Each hospital has the discretion to determine the best time to apply to restart elective medical procedures at their facility.

“We’re going now to another level,” Gov. Justice said. “We can’t sit back and not reopen. We can’t sit on our hands and just dwindle away because bad things will happen then as well.

“As we move forward, we can and will move safely. But we need you, West Virginians, to step up again and keep doing what you’ve done to keep everyone as safe as possible.”

The “Week 2” phase of reopenings are scheduled to begin this coming Monday, May 4, 2020. This includes small businesses with 10 or fewer employees, restaurants with takeaway service or outdoor dining options, religious entities and funeral homes, and professional service businesses such as hair salons, nail salons, barbershops, and pet grooming.

Reopening guidelines for businesses included in the Week 2 phase are now available

Guidance for professional services (such as hair salons, nail salons, barbershops, pet grooming, etc.) also opening in Week 2 will be provided by the board or commission that regulates each professional service.Further guidance documents will be posted here as they become available.

Several additional types of businesses will be permitted to reopen from Weeks 3-6. The opening schedule for these businesses will be based upon the recommendations of state medical experts and upon testing data available at that time. The Governor’s Office will announce which of these businesses will be able to reopen at least one week in advance of its respective reopening date.

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