CHARLESTON, W. Va. — West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice forced out the commissioner of his public health bureau on Wednesday, hours after he publicly questioned the accuracy of the state’s coronavirus data and detailed growing outbreaks in about a dozen counties.
The abrupt resignation of Cathy Slemp, who was also a state health officer, came after the Republican governor vented during a news conference that West Virginia’s active virus caseload may have been overstated.
In a statement Wednesday afternoon, the governor’s office said Justice had expressed his “lack of confidence” in Slemp to the secretary of the state health department, who then asked for Slemp’s resignation. She resigned immediately, the statement said.
In a separate statement, a spokeswoman for the health department said there were discrepancies related to virus caseload data at a state prison.