West Virginia to fund childcare program as federal funds end

Gov. Jim Justice

CHARLESTON, WV (AP) — Gov. Jim Justice said Wednesday the state will kick in $6 million to continue a program that funds day care for the children of essential workers, after federal funding ran out.

The announcement comes as states deal with the repercussions of Congress failing to pass a second pandemic relief package.

Justice said the first round of aid that included $23 million to expand childcare for essential workers will run out at the end of September. The state’s investments will keep the program running until the end of the year. Justice said it serves 3,400 families each month.

He said he still hoped the federal government will back fill the state’s expenses.

“But if they don’t, we’ve got the money, and we’ve figured it out,” he said at a press conference.

The state announced 10 deaths linked to the coronavirus on Wednesday, bringing the total to at least 290 deaths. West Virginia has had nearly 13,200 confirmed coronavirus cases.

Corrections officials announced that a 54-year-old inmate at the Mount Olive Correctional Complex died at a hospital on Sept. 13 after testing positive for the virus. They said he had an underlying medical condition. The hospital attributed the death to coronavirus, but the state said it is awaiting a report from the state’s chief medical examiner.

The death of another inmate, a 73-year-old man, who died in mid-July was also attributed to the coronavirus, corrections officials said.

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