Dr. Marsh on wearing masks: “It’s time to step up and we’re not doing a good enough job”

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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 read the details on the 24 West Virginians who passed away from COVID-19 since his briefing on Wednesday, Nov. 18, 2020. As always he does this to honor those individuals and to ask residents of the Mountain State to remember their families.

Gov. Justice stated the bulk of those who have passed away are among the state’s elderly. This was true to the information provided by medical experts since the pandemic began.

More than 16,000 people were tested in West Virginia on Thursday. The Reproductive Factor (Rt) is at 1.16. This, according to the Governor, is likely in the middle of those for all other states.

The Governor cited the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) which suggested people postpone travel plans for Thanksgiving. He suggested West Virginians who do plan to travel to get tested prior to visiting relatives for the holiday. Free testing is available across the state and at drive-thru pharmacy locations.

Pfizer is applying with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for emergency distribution authorization of their vaccine. This came from a release on Friday morning. West Virginia has a plan in place to ensure the vaccine is distributed when it becomes available.

Until the vaccine is available, the Governor encouraged West Virginians to adhere to the guidelines and follow the requirements in his Executive Orders. Last Friday the Governor mandated staff in nursing homes and long-term care facilities be tested twice a week. Since that began, the DHHR identified 11 asymptomatic cases.

“We’re not moving toward shutting anything down,” said Gov. Justice.

After saying that, he clarified that everything is on the table. While they are not moving that direction as of the briefing on Friday, he did say that could change by Monday’s briefing. This could include targeted shutdowns in specified areas or more widespread shutdowns, if needed.

The Governor stated there will be no WV COVID-19 Briefing on Friday, Nov. 27 in observance of Thanksgiving.

Dr. Clay Marsh was direct in his comments. He referenced the rapid spread of the virus across the state which is evident by the results on the County Alert System map. Dr. Marsh stated the spread is increasing.

“It’s time to step up, and we’re not doing a good enough job,” said Dr. Marsh.

He directed people to wear masks and to wear them properly. This is especially important when you are indoors. By wearing the mask properly, he stated it must be over the nose as well as the mouth.

The situation at Stevens Correctional Center is improving as 39 inmates have recovered from the illness. There are now 226 inmates who are COVID-19 positive. There are also 25 staff members at the prison who are in quarantine.

There is a WV Department of Health and Human Resources (DHHR) COVID-19 clinic at Welch Community Hospital. Sec. Bill Crouch stated this is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. He encouraged everyone in McDowell County to take advantage of that service.

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