CHARLESTON, WV (WOWK) — The order to test every corrections inmate and employee in the state comes after an outbreak at the Huttonsville State Prison in Randolph County. More than 100 inmates have tested positive for COVID-19, but all of the test results are not in yet, so the count may go higher.
“Well now all of a sudden, we’ve had an outbreak in one of the prisons and everything, so what do we do? We do exactly what we should do. And that is, run to that fire. And we have enough testing capability, and we’re going to test everybody in our prison facilities and everything,” said Gov. Jim Justice, R-WV.
Justice has no timeline yet but noted it took two weeks to test every nursing home resident and employee in the state. There is also concern about prison employees spreading the virus to Randolph County, so there will be community testing soon.
“And we want to make sure we are prioritizing appropriately the tests that we have available. And prioritize those for people that come in and out of the communities and work there,” said Dr. Clay Marsh, West Virginia COVID-19 Czar.
There is good news for the National Guardsmen and women who will be conducting those tests. President Trump Thursday extended funding for National Guard deployments nationwide, through mid-August. They were set to expire in June — that’s good news for the state which won’t have to pay them — and the latest indication more money is headed out of Washington.
“I think that when we go back next week, we will be engaged fully, in a new package, that will include additional small business help,” said Sen. Shelley Moore Capito, R-West Virginia.
“In another development, Justice says free testing programs are going well. Last weekend more than 3,000 West Virginians were tested in the state’s most populous counties, and only six positive cases were reported,” said Mark Curtis, 13 News Chief Political Reporter.