Manchin reacts to West Virginia's first coronavirus case: 'My state is the most challenged state of all'

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Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., told Fox News Wednesday that the best way to facilitate Congress' planned payments to middle- and lower-income Americans in response to the coronavirus outbreak is to use the unemployment insurance apparatus.

"The people we have to get money to are the people that have no paychecks because we have shut down everything -- That's where we need to go and it needs to be through the unemployment comp programs that we all have in place," Manchin told Bill Hemmer Reports". "That does more for the long-term than anything we do on the short-term check that we send one time."

WV BECOMES 50TH STATE WITH CORONAVIRUS CASE

Manchin added that there are many people who won't be so starkly financially affected by the government-imposed restrictions and curfews, including those who benefit from programs like Social Security and Medicare, and those receiving welfare payments.

Manchin also reacted to the first positive case of coronavirus in the Mountain State, telling Hemmer there is widespread anxiety over the outbreak since much of the state's population is elderly and many people have respiratory conditions from working in mines and similar industries.

White House advisers such as Dr. Deborah Birx have noted that those with such preexisting conditions are at greater risk from the virus.

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"My state is the most challenged state of all," Manchin said, adding that West Virginia lagged behind other states in terms of testing capacity.

"So unless we can get these tests, we were so far behind the curve, being prepared to test people and having the supplies, now we have to play catch-up so now we don't know where this virus will be ready to have an outbreak," he said.

According to Republican Gov. Jim Justice, the state's first patient is in the Eastern Panhandle -- a trio of counties surrounding Martinsburg; halfway between Washington, D.C. and Breezewood, Pa.

Justice did not specify which county.

Fox News' Nick Givas contributed to this report.