CHARLESTON, WV (WVNS) — Gov. Justice and state officials provide an update for media on COVID-19 preparedness and response plans. For more information about COVID-19 prevention and more, call the State’s toll-free hotline at 1-800-887-4304 or visit Coronavirus.wv.gov.
The Governor asked for prayers and thoughts for the families of those who died from COVID-19. The latest two deaths are from Wayne and Kanawha Counties. There are now 62 fatalities from the illness.
Gov. Justice addressed rumors the decisions about reopening the state are based on complaints from the public. He stated he will not play politics regarding the pandemic. The Governor confirmed the decisions are being made based on the advice of experts in order to keep the residents of West Virginia safe. He asked West Virginians to stay together and to not listen to the noise generated by political parties.
“We have been together as West Virginians and pulling the rope together,” said Gov. Justice.
The Governor reminded people about the testing for minorities is under way in Berkeley, Jefferson, Mercer and Raleigh Counties. He asked people take advantage of the this service. There were more than 300 people tested as of 11:45 a.m. on Friday.
- Berkeley – 120
- Jefferson – 137
- Mercer – 36
- Raleigh – 31
The number jumped to more than 500 by the end of the briefing on Friday at 12:30 p.m.
The Governor proclaimed Sunday, May 17, 2020 Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Glioma Awareness Day. This is a cancer that affects young children. If is rare, but there is no known cure. He mentioned Lindsey Varney, a student of Princeton Senior High School, who died of the disease in 2019.
In addition to gyms and fitness centers reopening on Monday, May 18, the following businesses are also allowed to do so under the same restrictions
- Martial Arts
As the state reopens, the Governor stated if the numbers turn the wrong way, they will put the process on hold or close some businesses. Currently West Virginia’s numbers are considerably better than all neighboring states and the national average. He asked people to be cautious and smart. They are asked to follow social distancing guidelines and wear masks when they must go out.
Dr. Clay Marsh stated masks protect you and others from the illness as it is projected in droplets from speaking or singing. New figures show it is best if more than 75-percent of people in a population are following this guidance.
West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources (DHHR) Secretary Bill Crouch said 24-percent of Child Care Center’s have tested their staff. Among those there are three positive cases and 381 negative cases. Those who tested positive are being quarantined.