Governor’s update (February 23)

CHARLESTON — During Wednesday’s briefing, Governor Justice announced that West Virginia’s number of active COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations, ICU patients, and patients on ventilators are now all declining.

“We’re really making improvement,” the governor said. “We are making some progress, but I ask everyone to still not forget the West Virginians we’ve lost.”

There are now just 3,574 active cases of COVID-19 and 594 COVID-related hospitalizations statewide.

In just one month, total active cases statewide have decreased by more than 83%.

Since nearing peak capacity in early February, West Virginia’s hospitals have also seen a precipitous drop off in the number of patients with severe cases of COVID-19.

Overall hospitalizations are down 46% since the most recent peak, while ICU patients and patients on ventilators are down 43% in the same timeframe.

Gov. Justice also took time out of his remarks on COVID-19 to announce he has declared a State of Preparedness for 41 counties throughout West Virginia due to the threat of flooding this week.

The main threat will be possible isolated flash flooding due to heavy downpours or steady rain, with storms forecast for much of the state Thursday and Friday.

The State of Preparedness covers Barbour, Boone, Braxton, Brooke, Cabell, Calhoun, Clay, Doddridge, Fayette, Gilmer, Hancock, Harrison, Jackson, Kanawha, Lewis, Lincoln, Logan, Marion, Marshall, Mason, McDowell, Mingo, Monongalia, Nicholas, Ohio, Pleasants, Preston, Putnam, Raleigh, Ritchie, Roane, Taylor, Tucker, Tyler, Upshur, Wayne, Webster, Wetzel, Wirt, Wood and Wyoming counties.

The governor’s declaration directs the State Emergency Operations Center and its partner agencies to prepare to respond ahead of this significant rainfall event, posturing personnel and resources to mobilize a response to any emergency that may develop.

Coordinating agencies are being placed on standby to report to the State Emergency Operations Center at the West Virginia Emergency Management Division (WVEMD) should the need arise.

Through the storm’s duration, the National Weather Service will hold daily briefings for state agencies and local partners. WVEMD liaisons will provide updates from each county.

“WVEMD monitors for any events that may threaten the citizens of West Virginia, including severe weather threats,” said WVEMD Director GE McCabe. “We’re prepared at all times to respond should there be an emergency.”

Gov. Justice and the WVEMD ask all West Virginians to remain attentive to weather conditions through local media reports and follow any instructions issued by emergency officials.