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

Resources for West Virginians Amidst COVID-19 and a Statement from Senator Manchin

The following is helpful information, links, and resources West Virginia Senator Manchin put together for West Virginians in response to the Coronavirus.

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.

Coronavirus CDC

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.
  • 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

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.

FOR PEOPLE WITH SERIOUS CHRONIC MEDICAL CONDITIONS AND THE ELDERLY

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

FOR VETERANS

Any Veteran with symptoms such as fever, cough or shortness of breath should immediately contact their local VA facility. VA urges Veterans to call before visiting – you can find contact information for your closest VA facility.

Alternatively, Veterans can sign into MyHealtheVet to send a secure message to VA or use telehealth options to explain their condition and receive a prompt diagnosis.

Upon arriving at VA, all patients will be screened for flu-like symptoms before they enter in order to protect other patients and staff. A VA health care professional will assist you with next steps once this screening process is complete.

At this time, VA is urging all visitors who do not feel well to please postpone their visits to VA facilities.

More information for Veterans can be found here: https://www.publichealth.va.gov/n-coronavirus/

FOR TRAVELERS

The CDC has made the following recommendations for travelers:

  • Older adults and people of any age with serious chronic medical conditions are at increased risk for severe disease and should consider postponing nonessential travel.
  • Travelers should avoid contact with sick people and wash their hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.
  • Travelers should monitor their health and limit interactions with others for 14 days after returning from travel.
  • Travelers that are sick with fever, cough, or have trouble breathing should stay home and call ahead before seeking medical care.

The Department of State advises U.S. citizens to reconsider travel abroad due to the global impact of COVID-19. Many areas throughout the world are now experiencing COVID-19 outbreaks and taking action that may limit traveler mobility, including quarantines and border restrictions. Even countries, jurisdictions, or areas where cases have not been reported may restrict travel without notice. More information on global health advisories from the Department of State can be found here: https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/traveladvisories/ea/travel-advisory-alert-global-level-3-health-advisory-issue.html

The CDC has issued travel health notices for countries with COVID-19 transmission. West Virginians should be aware of the CDC’s latest geographic risk assessment for COVID-19 transmission before traveling, and should avoid nonessential travel to areas under a travel health warning. Visit https://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/notices/ for the most up-to-date list of travel health notices.

CDC recommends all people defer all cruise ship travel worldwide, including river cruises, because of the increased risk of COVID-19 spread onboard ships.

FOR STUDENTS AND PARENTS/GUARDIANS

Governor Jim Justice has closed schools statewide through March 27. 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.

FOR HEALTHCARE PROFESSIONALS

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.

FOR BUSINESSES

Now is the time for businesses to create an Infectious Disease Outbreak Response Plan. Employers should emphasize staying home when sick, respiratory etiquette and hand hygiene by all employees. Employees who appear to have acute respiratory illness symptoms (i.e. cough, shortness of breath) upon arrival to work or become sick during the day should be separated from other employees and be sent home immediately.

Routinely clean all frequently touched surfaces in the workplace, such as workstations, countertops, and doorknobs. Use the cleaning agents that are usually used in these areas and follow the directions on the label. No additional disinfection beyond routine cleaning is recommended at this time.

Do not make determinations of risk based on employees’ race or country of origin, and be sure to maintain confidentiality of people with confirmed COVID-19.

More information for businesses can be found here: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/community/guidance-business-response.html

FOR TAXPAYERS

The Department of Treasury and the IRS have announced further guidance with regards to the upcoming filing deadline. As of now, the filing deadline will remain on April 15th in the hopes of being able to get as many people a tax refund as quickly as possible. However, all individuals and non-corporate tax filers can defer up to $1 million of federal income tax (including the self-employment tax) payments that were originally due on April 15, 2020 until July 15, 2020, without penalties or interest. Corporate taxpayers will be able to defer up to $10 million of federal income tax payments until July 15, 2020 without penalties or interest.

To view the notice from Treasury and the IRS, Click here

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

TESTING LOCATIONS

To report your symptoms and be directed to one of the available testing sites, contact your primary care doctor or a designated hotline for your area.

CHARLESTON

LOCATION: Sunnyside Clinic, 108 Lee St. E., Charleston, WV 25301

HOURS: Tue-Thu 8 am – 4 pm

Patients should call first – 681-205-2455.

CHARLESTON

LOCATION: Kanawha City

If you are experiencing flu-like symptoms and are concerned about COVID-19/Coronavirus, you can use CAMC’s 24/7 Care app to talk to a provider FREE – anytime, day or night. It only takes a few minutes to download the 24/7 Care app and set up an account. Then you can request a free visit using coupon code COVID. A CAMC provider will call you or video chat with you to talk about your symptoms and give you information about what to do should you need screened for Coronavirus.

HUNTINGTON

LOCATION: St. Mary’s Center for Education, 2853 5th Ave., Huntington, WV 25702

HOURS: Opening Thursday, March 20, 2020 at 1 pm
Mon-Fri 10am to 4pm

Individuals with a valid order from a doctor will be allowed to be tested. Individuals should bring their physician order, insurance information and a valid ID.

MORGANTOWN

LOCATION: University Town Centre, 6040 University Town Centre Drive, Morgantown, WV 26501

HOURS: Mon-Sun 10 am- 4 pm

Patients without a valid order for testing should contact primary-care office to determine if they need a screening test. They can also contact the WVU Medicine Nurse Navigator line at 304-598-6000 Option 4.

MARTINSBURG

LOCATION: Berkeley Medical Center, 2500 Hospital Dr., Martinsburg, WV 25401

HOURS: Mon-Sun 10 am- 4 pm

Patients without a valid order for testing should contact primary-care office to determine if they need a screening test. They can also contact the WVU Medicine Nurse Navigator line at 304-598-6000 Option 4.

PARKERSBURG

LOCATION: Camden Clark Medical Center, 800 Garfield Ave, Parkersburg, WV 26101

HOURS: Mon-Sun 10 am- 4 pm

Patients without a valid order for testing should contact primary-care office to determine if they need a screening test. They can also contact the WVU Medicine Nurse Navigator line at 304-598-6000 Option 4.

WHEELING

LOCATION: Wheeling Park parking lot

HOURS: Mon-Sat 10 am- 4 pm

To get pre-screened, contact your primary care physician or call Wheeling Hospital COVID-19 Line: 304-221-3995

Locations will be updated daily.

UTILITIES

APCo/WPCo – March 17, 2020
https://appalachianpower.com/info/news/ViewFeaturedStory.aspx?releaseID=5465
• Temporarily suspended all service disconnections for non-payment

FirstEnergy – March 17, 2020
https://www.firstenergycorp.com/help/safety/coronavirus.html
• Discontinued power shutoffs for customers who are past due on their electric bills

Craig Botetourt Electric Cooperative (Facebook post) – March 17, 2020
https://www.facebook.com/permalink.php?story_fbid=3002221819821707&id=261157783928138
• Closed its office to the public
• Members are asked to use conduct business by phone, online, or at the drop box

Dominion Energy – March 16, 2020
https://www.dominionenergy.com/
• Suspended all service disconnections for nonpayment
• Will waive late fees and reconnection fees
• Company is donating $750,000 to nonprofits and $250,000 to Red Cross

Mountaineer Gas Co. – March 17, 2020
http://mountaineergasonline.com/covid-19.html
• Suspended all service disconnections for nonpayment

West Virginia American Water – March 13, 2020
https://amwater.com/wvaw/
• Discontinuing service shut offs at this time
• Will begin the restoration of service to customers whose service was shut off prior to March 12, 2020
• Will negotiate with wastewater providers to set up a similar moratorium on shut-offs
• Requests that customers utilize online and call center options to address questions and make payments
• Will suspend all non-essential field appointments and limit contact with customers during all emergency field appointments

AlticeUSA (Suddenlink), AT&T, CenturyLink, Charter, Comcast, Frontier, Sprint, T-Mobile, U.S. Cellular, Verizon (March 13, 2020)

• Will not terminate service to residential or small business customers due to non-payment because of disruptions caused by the pandemic
• Waive late fees that residential or small business customers incur because of their economic circumstances related to the pandemic
• Open its Wi-Fi hotspots to any American who needs them
• Internet customers will not be charged overage fees

MORE INFORMATION

U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: https://dhhr.wv.gov/Coronavirus%20Disease-COVID-19/Pages/default.aspx

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

WV Department of Health and Human Services: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html

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

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

STATEMENT FROM SENATOR JOE MANCHIN – MARCH 12, 2020

“I am urging West Virginians to take deliberate precautions to mitigate the spread of the COVID-19 virus, otherwise known as the coronavirus. Out of an abundance of caution, I have decided against holding any public events next week. After a Senate staffer from a different office tested positive for the virus and following the recommendation of Dr. Brian Monahan, the Attending Physician of the United States Congress, and Dr. Anthony Fauci, the Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, I have encouraged my Washington staff to telework until further notice, and have directed my West Virginia staff to be prepared to telework if necessary. Public health experts have made it clear that we must take action to mitigate the spread of this virus from now until April 1st, or else risk severe consequences like we are seeing in Italy and China,” Senator Manchin said. “We all share the responsibility to prevent the spread of this virus and exercise responsible choices, including social distancing, frequently washing your hands with soap and water, wiping down surfaces with products that contain at least 60 percent alcohol, avoiding crowded places, canceling nonessential domestic and international travel and staying home if you are feeling under the weather. I will continue to monitor the outbreak and provide as much information as possible to West Virginians as the situation develops.”

Updated March 19, 2020

West Law Firm’s Office Status and Hours of Operation

As of March 19th, West Law Firm is open during normal business hours. However, for everyone’s safety, we will only meet with clients on an appointment basis, when necessary. Most of our work can be done electronically.

Fortunately, we have state of the art technology set up that enables us to help and represent people injured in accidents or by negligence without them ever having to come to the office. If you or a loved one has been injured by negligence, we invite you to call us for a Free Case Review today. Our toll free number is 1-877-943-9378. There’s also No Fee unless and until we recover compensation for you.

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