COVID-19 UPDATE: Gov. Justice, state health experts again urge caution as recent surge continues; safety guidance for holiday celebrations released


​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.
After seeing West Virginia experience its highest number of new positive cases for a single day over the past 24 hours, Gov. Justice and state health experts came together Wednesday to once again urge West Virginians to follow all proper precautions put in place to slow the spread.

“Since Monday, we’ve lost another 23 West Virginians. You can see, on the television, all across the nation, this thing has amped up and it keeps getting worse and worse,” Gov. Justice said. “We are all very hopeful that, as it’s done in the past, it will peak and then it will go the other way. But right now, we’re still going up.”

Gov. Justice reported that the current number of active cases in the state has also reached a new record high of 7,771. Meanwhile, the cumulative percent of positive cases is now 3.11%, up from 3.06% on Monday and the highest such rate seen in West Virginia since April 24, 2020.

“This killer is with us, and we’ve got to continue to try to do everything we possibly can to follow our guidelines and we’ve got to continue to try to do everything we possibly can to get tested,” Gov. Justice said.

However, the Governor also added that the statewide rate of COVID-19 transmission – also known as Rt – improved to 1.08 Wednesday morning; tied for the 13th-best such rate of any state in the country. On two states across America currently have Rt values under the 1.00 threshold indicating whether the disease is spreading or contracting.

Meanwhile, 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.

“All in all, West Virginia, you’re doing well. But we’re starting to see that the deaths are rising, our hospital numbers are starting to rise, and we see spread that is very much throughout West Virginia and throughout our country,” said Coronavirus Czar Dr. Clay Marsh. “So it is really time for us to rally together and answer the call.”

Click here to view the latest COVID-19 data
Click here to view photo album​
Also on Wednesday, Gov. Justice provided a look at West Virginia’s latest mid-week County Alert System map update.

Red counties: 1 (Mingo)
Orange counties: 9 (Fayette, Jackson, Lincoln, Marshall, Mineral, Nicholas, Tyler, Wood, Wyoming)
Gold counties: 11 (Berkeley, Boone, Cabell, Hampshire, Hardy, Harrison, Jefferson, Kanawha, Ohio, Putnam, Wayne)
Yellow counties: 17 (Braxton, Hancock, Lewis, Logan, Mason, McDowell, Mercer, Monroe, Morgan, Pleasants, Preston, Raleigh, Randolph, Ritchie, Upshur, Wetzel, Wirt)
Green counties: 17 (Barbour, Brooke, Calhoun, Clay, Doddridge, Gilmer, Grant, Greenbrier, Marion, Monongalia, Pendleton, Pocahontas, Roane, Summers, Taylor, 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)
Additionally Wednesday, Gov. Justice provided an overview of the 46 counties that have upcoming free testing events scheduled for the coming weeks 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.

Each county reaching Red or Orange status in the DHHR's County Alert System map (Click "County Alert System" tab) is required to set up at least one free testing site within the same day. Each county reaching Gold status is required to set up at least one free testing site within 48 hours.

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 now 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
Also on Wednesday, Dr. Ayne Amjad, State Health Officer and Commissioner of the West Virginia Bureau for Public Health, announced that the Department of Health and Human Resources has now released guidance for safe holiday celebrations and holiday travel ahead of the coming fall and winter holiday season.

“If you are going to see your family, we do recommend a few things, such as to only stick around immediate family members,” Dr. Amjad said. “A few other things to mention are, if you recently had COVID-19 and you may still be symptomatic, or if you think you’ve been around someone who may have COVID-19, do not go around any family members.”

Dr. Amjad also added that testing negative for COVID-19 shortly preceding any holiday gatherings could provide an extra level of comfort.

Click here to read the full guidance document
Additionally Wednesday, Gov. Justice took time out of his remarks regarding COVID-19 to commemorate Veterans Day by thanking the men and women from West Virginia and across America that have and are serving in the United States Army, Air Force, Navy, Marines, Coast Guard, and Space Force.

“It is a day of thankfulness that every last one of us should feel to our heart,” Gov. Justice said. “What these wonderful men and women have given, give, and will continue to give us, in each and every way, is everything we have.

“I’ve said it over and over; we owe everything in this country to these great men and women that have stepped up and served,” Gov. Justice continued. “And many of them have absolutely paid the ultimate sacrifice. And so, for their families, let’s remember them in our prayers as well. I could never thank them enough.”

Later in the day, Gov. Justice hosted a virtual Veterans Day celebration ceremony with West Virginia Department of Veterans Assistance Secretary Dennis Davis, West Virginia National Guard Adjutant General Maj. Gen. James Hoyer, West Virginia Department of Arts, Culture and History Curator Randall Reid-Smith, and with performances by the Cabell Midland High School Marching Knights, members of the West Virginia Air and Army National Guard, and more.
Also on Wednesday, Gov. Justice reported that, per the West Virginia Department of Education, there are 18 active outbreaks in public schools across the state. These outbreaks account for 118 confirmed cases.

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

West Virginia now has 19 active church-related outbreaks across 13 counties: Cabell, Fayette, Hardy, Jefferson, Kanawha, Lewis, Mingo, Monroe, Raleigh, Ritchie, Tyler, Wood, and Wyoming counties.

There are now 72 outbreaks in long-term care facilities across the state, up from 62 on Monday.

The Governor also announced that the Stevens Correctional Center in McDowell County has reported an outbreak among both inmates and staff, including 38 active inmate cases and 11 active staff cases. The facility is currently on lockdown and all inmates and staff are being tested today and tomorrow. McDowell County officials are coordinating contact tracing with the Division of Corrections and Rehabilitation (DCR) and the local health department. DCR has sent in several of its leaders who have been heavily involved in the successful responses at other facilities. The West Virginia National Guard is standing by to sanitize once the outbreak has been isolated and the scope of the infection is known.

Outside of the outbreak at Stevens Correctional Center, there are now six active inmate cases and 34 active staff cases across the entire DCR system.

Click here to view the latest corrections facility update
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 $175 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.
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.
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

Contact Information

Jordan Damron,


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

Office Phone:
304.558.2000 or 1.888.438.2731

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