Gov. Jim Justice and the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources (DHHR) today announced the creation of an information hotline to address public and medical provider questions and concerns regarding Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19).
“This hotline is yet another example of the proactive measures we’re taking to help our fellow West Virginians stay as safe as possible,” Gov. Justice said. “With this great tool, we’re going to be able to provide more people the knowledge they need to make informed decisions to keep themselves and their loved ones healthy, while helping minimize the potential for any community spread.”
The hotline is being provided through a long-standing emergency preparedness partnership between DHHR’s Bureau for Public Health and the West Virginia Poison Center. Operators are available 24/7, toll-free at 1-800-887-4304 to provide accurate information about COVID-19, the risk to the public, and the state’s response.
“We recognize that as the number of national cases grows, the risk of a confirmed case and community spread in West Virginia becomes more likely,” stated Dr. Cathy Slemp, State Health Officer and Commissioner of DHHR’s Bureau for Public Health. “Establishing the hotline provides access to experienced and knowledgeable staff who can answer questions West Virginia residents and providers may have. It can also link them with guidance and tools they can use to reduce the effects of COVID-19 on themselves, their families, and their communities.”
There are currently no confirmed cases of COVID-19 in West Virginia. As of March 9, 2020, West Virginia has tested five residents for COVID-19 with two results negative and three pending.
“The WV Poison Center, with the support of its host institution West Virginia University, has been planning with the Bureau for the activation of a Public Health Hotline for many years. These plans will now be put into place,” said Dr. Elizabeth Scharman, Director of the WV Poison Center and WVU School of Pharmacy Professor.