Normally, WorkForce West Virginia personnel handle 3,000 to 5,000 new claims for unemployment compensation every month. In March, the number exceeded 90,000.
No wonder both the people and machines handling the claims are overwhelmed. Give them credit for working as quickly as they have.
But, as Gov. Jim Justice pointed out last week, delays in accepting and processing unemployment compensation applications are not acceptable. Period.
WorkForce personnel had kicked into overdrive by last week, expanding their normal work hours to 12 a day, six days a week. That was not enough, so Justice directed the National Guard to pitch in.
People are not the only challenge. The enormous volume of claims had bogged down the WorkForce website last week. That, too, needs to be resolved — regardless of what it costs for upgraded equipment.
West Virginians laid off or furloughed from their jobs need help immediately. Justice is right to view that as a priority for state government efforts.
Federal officials including President Donald Trump have warned that this week will be a grim one in America. The COVID-19 grim reaper will be very active.
Here in West Virginia, we have not yet reached the stage of the coronavirus’ most deadliness. More deaths may be recorded.
But there is evidence that steps most of us are taking to avoid spreading the disease were working.
Things will get worse in West Virginia. Sadly, there is no doubt of that. But social distancing, good personal hygiene and other actions we are taking to contain COVID-19 are proving to be effective.
Let’s keep up the good work, fellow West Virginians. We’re saving lives.