Gov. Justice suggests adding Gold to County Alert System

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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 listing of the COVID-19 fatalities in West Virginia held the place of honor on Monday’s briefing. Gov. Jim Justice (R-WV) read them at the beginning. He asked, as always, that West Virginians not forget that each of these people have names and families.

West Virginia’s Rt factor is still the highest in the nation. It is 1.34 which is down from the previous week.

The Bible Center School in Kanawha County is a situation the Governor addressed. He stated the school administrators are ignoring the Governor’s mandate and going back to in-person schooling. Kanawha County is still in the Orange range on the County Alert System map which prevents in-person school.

At this time the Governor stated they will be looking to work with the school to encourage them to comply with the mandates. At this time they will not force compliance.

The Governor’s advisors on COVID-19 are being gathered at the Governor’s Mansion at 5 p.m. on Monday, Sept. 14, 2020. They are going to look at all of the options for ensuring the safety of West Virginians. He stated he will not be influenced by protesters or pressure from Washington, D.C.

The Governor said in his opinion the Orange range is too wide. He will propose narrowing that range in the meeting at 5 p.m. He suggested a new color be added between Yellow and Orange. This would range from 10 to around 16. The suggested color would be Gold. Sports teams would be allowed to play any other county which is also in the Gold range.

In regards to Monongalia County, the cases there are considerably above the minimum to be in the Red range. The Governor suggested those students who test positive at WVU be sequestered in one or two dorms which would allow them to be counted as a congregate community such as a nursing home.

Addressing bands playing during games, the Governor stated he did not know why they are only being allowed to play one time.

The state will look at what resources and actions can be brought into action to help those counties contain the virus and improve their numbers.

None of these suggestions were set in stone. These are the Governor’s suggestions and are expected to be vetted by experts at the meeting around 5 p.m. on Monday. The goal is to stay flexible and adapt to the situation.

The Governor stated they will hold a briefing after the meeting to give West Virginians an update on any changes they have made.

Regarding Fayette County, over the weekend Gauley Season began. There was an additional influx of people to the area. The Governor stated there were reports of failing to follow the guidelines. He took no executive action, but did advise leaders in Fayette County to get things under control. Testing will be held on Tuesday, Sept. 15.

The numbers for the 2020 Census continue to improve. West Virginia is now at a 99-percent response rate.

State Health Officer Ayne Amjad advised all West Virginians to get the annual flu vaccine. Maj. Gen. James Hoyer stated this is a focus for all National Guard personnel and their families.

The number of counties with in-person school this week is 47. That is up one from the previous week. The Governor thanked Superintendent Burch and his staff for they have done.

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