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 paid respect to those who have passed away from COVID-19 since his last briefing on Wednesday. He reminded West Virginians about the vulnerability of the elderly to the virus and asked people to remember them and their contributions to the state.
The Reproduction Factor (Rt) is at 1.05, which is up from Wednesday; however, West Virginia remains 12th best in the nation. Free Testing is available in many counties across the state.
There are 14 outbreaks in churches across 12 counties. Among those counties are Mercer, Monroe and Wyoming Counties. The Governor asked people to continue following the guidelines when attending church.
The Governor reminded people to apply for CARES Act help on their utility bills. This program was announced on Wednesday. There is $25-million available to help offset delinquent bills between March 1 and July 31.
Dr. Clay Marsh said West Virginians have the power to stop the spread of COVID-19 in their hands. This is through the use of masks. He encouraged people to recommit themselves to wearing masks and social distancing. This is especially important as the weather gets colder.
He added over the next six to 12 weeks, as we head into the holiday season, our power to combat the virus is getting tested, answering the call for contact tracing and wearing masks.
Dr. Marsh stated social distancing and mask wearing is equivalent to having a vaccine.
Dr. Marsh stated the latest guidance from the CDC is that cumulative exposure to COVID-19 can lead to the transmission of the virus. This means being exposed to multiple positive people over a 15 minute period can lead to a person contracting the illness.
State leaders spoke about the importance of responding contact tracing. If you receive a call with a caller ID of WV COVID-19 Response Team or from the number 866-611-0661, these are contact tracers. The goal is to help slow or stop the spread of the virus.