High school sports schedule and new WV state health officer announced

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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 stated the latest hot spot for COVID-19 in West Virginia is Monongalia County. He then reinforced the mandatory mask order and encouraged people to wear their masks as required.

He stated they are beginning to look at closing bars and indoor dining in Monongalia County. They are also looking at reducing the number of people who can gather together across the state. These decisions have not been made, but the Governor’s staff is gathering data to determine the next course of action.

The mandatory mask requirement applies to public buildings. He did say this applies to churches.

Dr. Clay Marsh stated the R-T factor in West Virginia is now the highest in the nation. That means the illness is now spreading person-to-person in the Mountain State faster than in any other state.

$50 Million of CARES Act funding for West Virginia will be used for broadband technology. This will apply to distance education and telehealth. The Governor stated there will be two major announcements regarding this coming up.

The Governor appointed Beckley Dr. Ayne Amjad as the new State Health Officer. She joined his staff for the briefing on Friday.

“We welcome Dr. Amjad and her broad experience as a practicing physician on the local level to lead our Bureau for Public Health during this pandemic,” said DHHR Secretary Bill Crouch.

Previously she was the project coordinator of Beryllium Research Team, of the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health, and a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention fellow. She is the founder of Bee-Better, a non-profit organization against opioid addiction and a member of the Human Rights Commission in Beckley.

“As a native West Virginian, I have served my region for many years from treating addiction to chronic health disease,” said Dr. Amjad. “Especially during this pandemic, I am truly excited to take on this new role which will have a greater impact and provide the opportunity to serve all the residents of the state.”

Free COVID-19 testing is coming to Mercer County on July 17, 2020 from 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. It will take place at the Mercer County Health Department.

Bernie Dolan, Executive Director of the WVSSAC, addressed the state regarding how high school sports will handled starting the Fall for the 2020-2021 school year. Practices for fall sports will start on Aug. 17, 2020.

The first official game will be golf on Aug. 24. That is because the sport allows for greater social distancing. Football games will begin on Thursday, Sept. 3, 2020. Volleyball, cheer, cross country and soccer will begin on Sept. 2.

Fans will need to be socially distant and wearing a mask during games. Dolan said what happens will be based on how well people follow the guidelines.

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