CHARLESTON — Governor Jim Justice continued his daily press briefings via YouTube Friday afternoon, providing ongoing updates on the state’s response efforts to combat the COVID-19 pandemic.
Justice reported West Virginia has now reached its 100th death from the coronavirus. He addressed misinformation along with COVID-19 Czar Dr. Clay Marsh. They explained that at least 99.93 percent of all positive patients survive, but in fact, the fatality rate worldwide is around 4 percent. They also explained that the coronavirus is worse than the flu, because the flu has a mortality rate of 0.1 percent and long-term effects are more substantial with this virus.
Justice explained that beginning July 1, the personal income tax collections reported $192,630,00, which is over $51 million ahead of estimates. Corporate net income tax collections are also reportedly over $50 million ahead of estimates.
During his announcements, Justice addressed the passing of former State Senator Shirley Love at age 87, then offered thoughts and prayers to his family. Justice announced there are currently church-related outbreaks in Boone, Kanawha, Raleigh and Taylor counties. He pleaded for all West Virginians to wear a mask but reminded business owners that some have breathing difficulties and are exempt from the mandatory order.
Justice also reminded small business owners about the CARES Act Small Business Funding. He reminded the residents of Jefferson and Monongalia counties about the free COVID-19 mobile testing lanes available Saturday. 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 $44.5 million have been dispersed.
Justice updated on the state’s current statistics, as of Friday at 10 a.m.: The WV Cumulative Percent of Tests Positive was at 2.14 percent. The Daily Percentage of Positive Cases rose to 4.89 percent. The state’s 3,160 recovered cases exceed the number of active cases, which stands at 1,450. West Virginia has now tested almost 12.4 percent of the state’s population, falling behind the nation’s average of almost 12.9 percent. The state’s Fatality Rate currently stands at 2.1 percent. Justice also explained that the state has performed 215,450 tests so far. All of these statistics and more can be found on the dashboard at coronavirus.wv.gov.
Marsh reported on a recent study from the University of California, San Francisco that shows a 300 percent increase in 18-25 year olds being hospitalized since April, and tied it to the risk factors of cigarette or electronic cigarette smoking. He also reported West Virginia has a 1.32 Rt value, the third worst in the country.
State Health Officer Dr. Ayne Amjad, M.D. shared her empathy for all 100 families who have lost someone in the state from COVID-19. She also shared that a House of Delegates employee has now tested positive and wished them a speedy recovery. Amjad addressed that the governor’s order is not strictly for masks, as they can be substituted with a bandana or other forms of face coverings. She then encouraged those who experience difficulties to address business owners about their options.
Major General James Hoyer, with the West Virginia National Guard, reported PPE availability, welcomed back the members of the 130th Airlift Wing, and acknowledged the one-year anniversary of the death of Sergeant William Friese. He also encouraged citizens to reach out to retailers about their other options while shopping, including curbside pick-up or special hours.