CHARLESTON — Governor Jim Justice continued his daily press briefings via YouTube Wednesday afternoon, providing ongoing updates on the state’s response efforts to combat the COVID-19 pandemic.
The governor continued his focus on the Monongalia County hotspot crisis, explaining a third of the positive cases in the state are located there and paid special attention to the younger demographic. He shared a chart during the briefing that broke down the number of cases between each age group from July 1 to July 14. The chart displayed that out of the 436 cases, a total of 321, or 74 percent, are from the 18-29 age group. He said that this may mean they need to extend the shutdown of all bars in Monongalia County further than the 10-day order.
Justice elaborated further on his face covering order, stating that on Tuesday, the CDC followed West Virginia’s lead and asked all Americans to wear face coverings to prevent the spread. He read a letter from the CDC Director, “Cloth face coverings are one of the most powerful weapons we have to slow and stop the spread of the virus. All Americans have a responsibility to protect themselves, their families and other communities.”
During his announcement, Justice thanked the Department of Education, all county Boards of Education, community partners, volunteers and food sites who helped disperse the 13,508,800 meals provided to school children since March. He also thanked retail stores across the state who are making special accommodations to those at higher risk. He reported some are offering special shopping hours, special delivery, and even pickup options for their customers.
With dismay, Governor Justice addressed the guilty plea of Reta Mays, who plead guilty to killing veterans at the Louis A. Johnson VA Medical Center.
The governor reminded the residents of Barbour, Mercer, Berkeley, Jefferson and Monongalia counties about the free COVID-19 mobile testing lanes available for this week. He mentioned once again the 690 sites on the Summer Feeding Program map, and asked everyone to take part in the 2020 United States Census. Justice reminded cities and counties to apply and reapply for the CARES Act grant funding, as over $42 million have been dispersed. Justice also reported that unemployment numbers dropped by 2 percent, now reported at 10.4 percent, showing a decrease of 21,400 people unemployed. This treads just under the national unemployment average of 11.1 percent.
Justice updated on the state’s current statistics, as of Wednesday at 10 a.m.: The WV Cumulative Percent of Tests Positive was at 2.07 percent. The Daily Percentage of Positive Cases rose to 3.99 percent. The state’s Fatality Rate currently stands at 2.17 percent. The state’s 2,995 recovered cases exceed the number of active cases, which stands at 1,371. West Virginia has now tested over 12.11 percent of the state’s population, falling behind the nation’s average of just over 12.4 percent. Justice also explained that the state has tested 215,450 tests so far. All of these statistics and more can be found on the dashboard at coronavirus.wv.gov.