WorkForce West Virginia has finally caught up on unemployment claims Governor Jim Justice said in his daily virtual press briefing.
In the briefing, Justice said WorkForce West Virginia has processed more than 150,000 unemployment claims in the last month and a half -- typically at this time of year the number would be closer to 3400.
Up until this point, those who are self-employed and independent contractors have not been able to apply for unemployment, but Justice said they will now be able to submit claims starting tomorrow night at 10pm.
Justice also talked about testing, saying that he expects the comprehensive nursing home testing to be done next week.
Additionally he said there have been no cases of the virus in any of West Virginia’s jails or prisons. Justice has been roundly criticized by criminal justice and civil rights groups for not ordering the release of more nonviolent offenders as was done in other states.The Department of Corrections has been reducing its jail and prison population but some advocates say it's not enough.
When asked what specific steps he was planning on taking to reopen the economy Justice was vague, saying he planned to move slowly and be cautious. But he also said the disease isn’t going away anytime soon and that West Virginians are going to have to learn how to live with it until we have drugs that can suppress the disease.
Appalachia Health News is a project of West Virginia Public Broadcasting, with support from Marshall Health and Charleston Area Medical Center.