CHARLESTON — Governor Jim Justice resumed his daily press briefings via YouTube Monday, providing continual updates on the state’s response efforts to combat the COVID-19 pandemic.
Justice opened Monday’s briefing describing a conversation he recently had with a 7-year-old foster child named Landon, who asked the Governor to find him a permanent home. Justice asked all West Virginians to keep in mind the foster kids in the state who desperately need stable homes.
Justice continued to address viewers by praising the Mountain State’s performance during the pandemic. Being the most vulnerable state, with the highest risk population, and having the most chronic illnesses and oldest residents, the governor said West Virginia has shown miraculous numbers. Justice also recognized the peaceful participation in protests around the state during the current Black Lives Matter movement. “I am so proud of what West Virginians have done. You are pitching the greatest numbers on the planet. You are still on solid ground, economically. As far as how you've handled this horrendous situation that happened to George Floyd, you have handled it with grace and dignity and respect. You should be really proud, West Virginia, and I thank you for it,” Justice praised.
Justice reminded the state that Week 7 has now started with the reopening of low contact outdoor youth sports, WVSSAC sanctioned athletics and band summer training programs, little league sports practices, and all remaining adult sports facilities. He also reminded that out-of-state residents will be permitted to stay in private and state park campgrounds again beginning this Wednesday.
Justice announced details of Weeks 8 and 9 of West Virginia Strong: The Comeback plan. Week 8 starts on Monday, June 22, when summer youth camps will resume and spectators will be permitted at youth sports games, outdoor sporting and equestrian events, with social distancing observed. Week 9 begins on July 1 and permits fairs and festivals to resume, along with outdoor, open-air concerts. All these steps must follow the guidelines posted online at governor.wv.gov.
All cities and counties were once again reminded to apply for the CARES Act grant funding and Justice asked all West Virginians to get counted in the 2020 United States Census. Justice also reminded the state of the Summer Food Assistance Program he announced last week. Any questions about summer food distribution can be answered by calling 2-1-1.
Justice reminded residents in Greenbrier, Hancock, Logan and Wood counties of testing sites available June 12 and 13, and at Grant, Hampshire and Hardy counties on June 13.
The governor gave an update on efforts to test all correctional facilities in the state, reporting that there are currently four jails with a positive case, including Tygart Valley Regional Jail and two prisons. He said no positive cases have been reported at any juvenile centers or community corrections centers. All positive inmates are reportedly in good condition and in isolation at their locations, and Justice said no additional positives have been discovered among employees. These updates can be found at coronavirus.wv.gov.
Justice announced that he is increasing the number of people allowed in a raft to ensure the safety of rafters, as per the recommendations of those in the rafting industry.
Justice gave an update on the state’s current statistics, as of Monday. The governor showed the WV Cumulative Percent of Tests Positive was 1.90 percent. The Daily Percentage of Positive Cases showed 0.54 percent. The state’s Fatality Rate currently stands at 3.88 percent. The state’s 1,468 recovered cases far exceed the number of active cases at 601. West Virginia has now tested almost 6.1 percent of the state’s population, higher than the nation’s average of almost 5.6 percent. All of these statistics and more can be found on the dashboard at coronavirus.wv.gov.
Justice announced that he will not hold a press briefing Tuesday, as it is Election Day in West Virginia. He closed his announcements by encouraging all who are able to go vote.
Dr. Clay Marsh, COVID-19 Czar, reminded voters to vote safely by paying attention to the three C’s: Close quarters, Crowds, and Constant Contact; as well as wearing masks and observing social distance. He also reminded and encouraged the same for those who are protesting.