Governor Justice extends school closures to April 20

CHARLESTON — Governor Jim Justice ordered that West Virginia schools will remain closed until at least April 20 during his daily press briefing Wednesday afternoon via YouTube. Justice instructed Tax Commissioner Dale Steager to extend the West Virginia income tax filing and payment deadline to July 15, to coincide with federal delays. Justice also waived interest and penalties on property tax filings until May 1 to see what the stimulus package does. Justice further announced he remains hopeful that the kids will go back to school at some point in time, but not now. He instructed Superintendent Clayton Burch to extend the statewide school closure until April 20, at which time the situation will be further evaluated. Justice left the briefing to get in touch with the White House about supplies, leaving his panel of medical experts to inform the audience and answer questions. Dr. Clay Marsh, West Virginia University Vice President and Executive Dean for Health Services, commented on the rise of positive cases. He also shared that the statistics show in the United States that 38 percent hospitalized are under 55 years of age and 20 percent are between the ages of 20 and 40, with men reportedly being affected more severely than women. He said it is not clear whether the virus is infecting men disproportionately, or if the men’s health overall is a factor. WV Department of Health and Human Resources Secretary Bill Crouch commented on the search for masks, thanked the healthcare workers and reminded the viewers to take care of the elderly. WV Bureau for Public Health Commissioner Dr. Cathy Slemp reiterated that this is a critical time to stay at home if you are sick. Don’t go to work. If you have a fever, stay home three days after the fever. She also touched on anxiety and asserted it is normal to have high anxiety in a stressful time such as this. She shared ways to help anxiety, by getting great information and answers to questions, but said it is also important to take a break from the internet. Enjoy the small moments that are still “normal” and not revolved around the virus, Slemp instructed. Major General James Hoyer, Adjutant General of the West Virginia National Guard, talked about the 53,000 N-95 masks, 50,000 surgical masks, 46,000 face shields, 21,000 gowns, 18,000 coveralls, 2,800 pairs of gloves being distributed throughout the state. He said Food Banks, VOAD and the National Guard worked to-gether to prepare 624 30-day food packs yesterday for se-niors. Lastly, prototype masks, made from 3-D printers and parachutes, are being ana-lyzed to find new resources during a worldwide supply shortage.