Members of Justice’s COVID-19 task force tested after House of Delegates exposure

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Members of the Gov. Jim Justice’s COVID-19 task force have been tested for the virus after learning a member of the staff of the House of Delegates Clerk’s Office tested positive Thursday.

State Coronavirus Czar Clay Marsh, State Adjutant General-Major General Jim Hoyer, state Health Officer Dr. Ayne Amjad and state Department of Health and Human Resources Secretary Bill Crouch were all in the House Chamber with the worker last Monday for a meeting with the House Health Committee.

Clay Marsh at Monday’s meeting.

Marsh and Hoyer both confirmed during Gov. Justice’s coronavirus media briefing Friday that they’ve been tested and both came back negative.

“I wore a face covering the entire time, actually a face covering with a Gore-tex face on it and it provided more protection than normal,” Hoyer said.

Marsh said he also tested negative. He said the risk for spread was low because everyone was wearing masks and social distance was maintained in the chamber.

“Dr. Sherri Young with the Kanawha-Charleston Health Department has done an extensive contact trace and didn’t feel that with the masks worn and the distancing put us at high risk,” Marsh said.

State DHHR Communications Director Allison Adler said Friday that while exposure risk is believed to be low, arrangements were being made for both Crouch and Amjad to also be tested. Gov. Justice, who wasn’t at the Monday meeting, said Friday he was also recently tested and the test came back negative.

The National Guard was assisting the Kanawha-Charleston Health Department Friday in testing House employees and House members who had come into contact with the worker.

Marsh said the important thing to remember is both the worker and others were following the guidelines, they were wearing masks and keeping their distance. He said the incident serves as a good reminder.

“That wearing masks are so important. Because for many people they don’t know they’re infected when they can infect other people and the masks wearing and the distancing so much reduces the risk of spread and that’s an important mitigation measure that we see so illustrated clearly here,” Marsh said.

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