COVID-19 UPDATE: Gov. Justice discusses rising case numbers in West Virginia and across America

11/18/2020

 
CHARLESTON, WV – Gov. Jim Justice joined West Virginia health leaders and other officials today for his latest daily press briefing regarding the State’s COVID-19 response.
GOVERNOR DISCUSSES RISING CASE NUMBERS
During Wednesday’s briefing, Gov. Justice discussed the rising number of COVID-19 cases being seen in West Virginia and across the country in recent weeks.

“We have a real problem all across our land, not just in West Virginia, but all across the United States of America,” Gov. Justice said. “In the past day alone, in the United States, we lost 1,707 people. What does it take to get our attention? In the past week, in the United States, we lost 8,091 people; that’s more deaths in one week than we’ve lost in the entire War on Terror over nearly 20 years.”

On Wednesday, Gov. Justice reported that the current number of active cases in the state has reached a new record high of 11,172 including 6,097 new positive cases in the just the past seven days and 953 in the past 24 hours. A record high of 429 people are currently hospitalized and a record high of 129 patients are currently in the ICU.

Meanwhile, the cumulative percent of positive cases is now 3.35%, up from 3.27% on Monday and the highest such rate seen in West Virginia since April 24, 2020.

“West Virginia, you’ve got to wear your masks, that’s all there is to it,” Gov. Justice said. “If wearing a mask is too much for me to ask, this virus is going to be too much for us. It’s the best defense we have against this killer that’s running across the country like wildfire right now.

“I also want to address some rumors that I’ve heard recently, and I don’t know where they’re coming from, but I want to make one thing clear: Jim Justice does not want to shut anything down in this state,” Gov. Justice continued. “I’m trying, with all in me, to just go one teeny step: asking you to wear your masks. There is not a part of me that has a thought, today, to shut anything down. Stop this nonsense. All we’re trying to do is to get to that vaccine by asking everyone to wear their masks.

“Stop the hogwash. That’s just all we’ve got to do.”

West Virginia continues to outperform the national average – as well as the rates of all of its bordering states – in lowest percentage of population positive, and lowest percentage of positive test results.

Click here to view the latest COVID-19 data
Click here to view photo album​
UPDATED FACE COVERING REQUIREMENT IN EFFECT; SIGNS AVAILABLE FOR BUSINESSES
Also on Wednesday, Gov. Justice provided a reminder that his broadened Statewide Indoor Face Covering Requirement is now in effect.

The new order requires all West Virginians age 9 and older to wear a face covering at all times inside all indoor public places. This differs from the Governor’s initial indoor face covering requirement, which allowed masks to be removed in such places if adequate social distancing could be maintained. Under the new order, that exception no longer exists.

The new order also requires that all businesses and organizations that invite the public into their facilities must post adequate signage advising guests of the requirement and are also responsible for enforcing the requirement to ensure it is being followed.

Click here to read more details about the face covering requirement

Posters are now available on the DHHR’s online Face Covering Toolkit for businesses or organizations to print and display. Social media graphics are also available for download and use by the general public.
AGGRESSIVE TESTING CONTINUES ACROSS STATE
Additionally Wednesday, Gov. Justice provided an overview of the 48 counties that have upcoming free testing events scheduled for the near future through the Governor’s Aggressive Testing initiative.

This testing is available to all residents, including asymptomatic individuals. Proof of insurance is not required. Attendees should bring identification, such as a driver’s license or proof of address, to help in returning test results. Those under the age of 18 must be accompanied by a parent or legal guardian.

“I again want to encourage all West Virginians to get tested before Thanksgiving and before spending time with loved ones,” Gov. Justice said. “We have testing locations available in nearly every county now, so I urge everyone to take advantage of it.”

Click here to view all locations, dates, times, and more details
Gov. Justice also offered a reminder that, as part of his administration’s efforts to expand free COVID-19 testing throughout West Virginia, the State is now partnering with Walgreens and West Virginia-based company Fruth Pharmacy to offer dozens of new free testing sites at several of their pharmacy drive-thrus.

Walgreens is offering free testing at 54 locations statewide, including several new testing sites. Locations include stores in Berkeley, Boone, Brooke, Cabell, Clay, Fayette, Gilmer, Greenbrier, Hampshire, Hancock, Harrison, Jackson, Jefferson, Kanawha, Lincoln, Logan, Marion, McDowell, Mercer, Monongalia, Nicholas, Pocahontas, Preston, Putnam, Raleigh, Randolph, Summers, Taylor, Upshur, Wayne, Wetzel, Wood, and Wyoming counties.

Fruth Pharmacy is also offering free testing at 12 of their locations statewide, including stores in Cabell, Jackson, Kanawha, Mason, Putnam, Roane, and Wood counties.

Pre-registration is required for pharmacy drive-thru testing.

Click here to find the testing location closest to you
WEDNESDAY MAP UPDATE
Also on Wednesday, Gov. Justice provided a look at West Virginia’s latest mid-week County Alert System map update.

Red counties: 3 (Jackson, Marshall, Mineral)
Orange counties: 15 (Barbour, Berkeley, Boone, Brooke, Cabell, Hancock, Hardy, Jefferson, Mason, Morgan, Ohio, Putnam, Randolph, Wayne, Wood)
Gold counties: 16 (Clay, Grant, Hampshire, Kanawha, Lincoln, Logan, Mingo, Nicholas, Pleasants, Preston, Ritchie, Taylor, Tyler, Wetzel, Wirt, Wyoming)
Yellow counties: 11 (Fayette, Greenbrier, Harrison, Lewis, Marion, McDowell, Mercer, Monongalia, Monroe, Raleigh, Upshur)
Green counties: 10 (Braxton, Calhoun, Doddridge, Gilmer, Pendleton, Pocahontas, Roane, Summers, Tucker, Webster)

The map is updated live on the DHHR’s COVID-19 Dashboard (Click "County Alert System" tab) throughout the week for informational purposes and to provide an indication of how each county is trending ahead of each Saturday at 5 p.m.; the time when each county is assigned its official color designation for the next week, which determines the level of scholastic, athletic, and extracurricular activities permitted in each county for that particular week.
DHHR’s COVID-19 Dashboard (Click "County Alert System" tab)
OUTBREAK REPORT
Additionally Wednesday, Gov. Justice reported that, per the West Virginia Department of Education, there are 22 active outbreaks in public schools across the state. These outbreaks account for 110 confirmed cases.

Click here to view the WVDE’s Current Outbreaks in Schools chart

West Virginia now has 20 active church-related outbreaks across 13 counties: Cabell, Fayette, Hardy, Jefferson, Kanawha, Mingo, Monroe, Preston, Raleigh, Taylor, Tyler, Wood, and Wyoming counties.

There currently remain 82 outbreaks in long-term care facilities across the state.

The Governor announced that testing of Stevens Correctional Center in McDowell County has resulted in the identification of 260 active inmate cases and 38 active staff cases to date after a recent outbreak was discovered at the facility.

Outside of the outbreak at Stevens Correctional Center, there are now eight active inmate cases and 32 active staff cases across the West Virginia Division of Corrections and Rehabilitation system.

Click here to view the latest corrections facility update
CITIES/COUNTIES GRANT FUNDING: OVER $184 MILLION HAS NOW BEEN AWARDED
Also today, Gov. Justice provided an update on cities and counties throughout West Virginia applying for funds through the federal CARES Act, reporting that more than $184 million has now been awarded all across the state.

web portal is available for city and county government officials to apply. Interested parties can also call the helpline: 1-833-94-GRANT.

Each of the recipients of CARES Act funding, along with grant amounts, are now available to view through the West Virginia State Auditor’s Office COVID-19 transparency website.
FLU VACCINE REMINDER
Once again today, Gov. Justice took time out of his remarks on COVID-19 to remind and encourage all West Virginians to get their flu vaccine.

According to health officials, everyone 6 months and older should receive this vaccine.

Locate a flu vaccine near you through the DHHR website.
ADDITIONAL INFORMATION
Click here to view all Executive Orders and other actions taken by Gov. Justice to combat the spread of COVID-19 in West Virginia.

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.

Contact Information

Jordan Damron, jordan.l.damron@wv.gov

Contact

Office of the Governor
State Capitol, 1900 Kanawha Blvd. E
Charleston, WV 25305

Office Phone:
304.558.2000 or 1.888.438.2731

Governor's Mansion:
304.558.3588

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