Trey Kay Published

Coronavirus Czar Says Pandemic Is A Stress Test For W.Va. Health Care

Dr. Clay Marsh, West Virginia's "Coronavirus Czar"
WVU Department of Health Sciences and Lalena Price

It’s been about 10 weeks since the coronavirus pandemic shut down much of the country, including West Virginia. While state officials are now reopening businesses, the pandemic is far from over. Seventy-eight West Virginians have died due to COVID-19. Unemployment claims have reached 250,000.

But the pandemic has exacted another toll — it’s fractured many of our healthcare institutions. When the state was in quarantine mode, hospitals delayed and canceled many medical procedures. People shied away from elective surgeries that are precisely the kind of procedures that make money for hospitals. As a result, revenues are down, and some health care systems have laid off staff to keep costs down.

Recently, Gov. Jim Justice lifted those restrictions to allow elective medical procedures. As medical systems come back online, Trey speaks with Dr. Clay Marsh, the state’s COVID-19 czar, who sees the pandemic as an opportunity to fix the parts of the state’s healthcare system that are failing some West Virginians.

This episode of Us & Them is presented with support from the Claude Worthington Benedum Foundation, the West Virginia Humanities Council and the CRC Foundation.

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