State prepares for coronavirus as federal government boosts efforts

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — The West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources’ Bureau for Public Health is continuing to prepare for the spread of COVID-19 — more commonly known as the coronavirus — as the federal government increases its response to the disease.

There are no reported cases or investigations of coronavirus in West Virginia. The bureau said Wednesday the immediate health risk is low, but international outbreaks make it important for officials to prepare.

Gov. Jim Justice ordered the state Department of Health and Human Resources to monitor the outbreak as well as reach out to local, state and federal health officials as necessary.

“We are working to ensure our health systems, emergency management agencies, first responders and county health departments are prepared and have the resources they need to respond to localized outbreaks in West Virginia communities,” said Dr. Cathy Slemp, state health officer and bureau commissioner.

Officials are developing tools to prepare and respond to localized outbreaks if needed.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Wednesday disclosed a new COVID-19 case in California which could be the first American case involving the general population.

President Donald Trump announced Vice President Mike Pence will lead the administration’s efforts on coronavirus.





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