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 expressed concern for the increasing number of Myrtle Beach-related coronavirus cases currently being reported across West Virginia. He announced new cases blamed on beach travel in the following counties: Berkeley - 12, Cabell - 5, Kanawha - 3, Preston - 26, Raleigh - 2 and Taylor - 1, with the likely possibility of more to come. “There’s got to be more, but this is enough. This is enough right here to cause us a big-time problem in West Virginia,” Justice said. “If you’ve been to Myrtle Beach, we want you tested… In order to be able to protect you, we’ve got to have information.”
Justice went over Week 9 of West Virginia Strong: The Comeback guidelines for reopening but reminded West Virginians that this is a fluid situation that can change overnight, based on the numbers reported daily.
Justice continued to encourage West Virginia cities and counties to apply and/or reapply for CARES Act grant funding, as he stated that more than $11,072,000 has been disbursed to the 24 applications statewide. Justice then reported that by the end of the week, they will announce funding for the rest of June, as well as where additional money will be going during the next year, beginning July 1.
The governor gave an update on the statewide testing initiative for all correctional facilities, reporting only six active cases currently in a Huttonsville prison. All the facilities have reportedly tested over 10,000 inmates and 4,000 employees. For the church-related cases, he said three counties are still experiencing outbreaks, totaling 68 cases – Ohio, Greenbrier and Boone. Justice then announced a Raleigh County nursing home facility is retesting all patients and all staff after an employee recently tested positive for the virus.
Justice informed residents of Boone, Lincoln, McDowell, Raleigh, Wyoming, Cabell, Hancock and Mingo counties of free COVID-19 testing sites available during the next two weeks. The governor also reminded West Virginians of the Summer Food Assistance Program and pleaded for all to take part in the 2020 United States Census.
Justice told viewers that a firefighter in McDowell County passed away while responding to a fire and the incident is under investigation by the State Fire Marshal. The governor also addressed the State of Emergency he declared Saturday for Greenbrier and Monroe counties due to significant flooding. He informed the residents who experienced damage about debris pick up details.
An update on the state’s current statistics, as of Monday at 10 a.m.: The WV Cumulative Percent of Tests Positive was at 1.69 percent. The Daily Percentage of Positive Cases showed 1.66 percent. The state’s Fatality Rate currently stands at almost 3.5 percent. The state’s 1,681 recovered cases far exceed the number of active cases at 782. West Virginia has now tested almost 8.5 percent of the state’s population, leading the nation’s average of just over 8 percent. All of these statistics and more can be found on the dashboard at coronavirus.wv.gov.
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.