CHARLESTON, WV – Gov. Jim Justice joined West Virginia health leaders and other officials Friday for his latest daily press briefing regarding the State's COVID-19 response.
CHARLESTON, WV – Gov. Jim Justice joined West Virginia health leaders and other officials Friday for his latest daily press briefing regarding the State’s COVID-19 response.
During his address, the Governor discussed West Virginia’s recent success at limiting the spread of the disease. The latest DHHR data shows that the statewide cumulative rate of positive tests dropped once again today to 2.43 percent.
“You, West Virginians, have done an incredible job,” Gov. Justice said. “What you’ve done has been a miracle. But, as we go forward, you’ve got to continue to be smart. And I know you will be.”
Gov. Justice issued a reminder today that “Week 2” of the Governor’s multi-phased plan to reopen businesses across the state – “West Virginia Strong – The Comeback” – are scheduled to begin this coming Monday, May 4.
This phase includes the reopening of small businesses with 10 or fewer employees, restaurants with takeaway service or outdoor dining options, as well as religious entities and funeral homes.
Professional service operations such as hair salons, nail salons, barbershops, and pet grooming are also among the businesses permitted to reopen in Week 2. Additional safety guidelines for these specific types of businesses from the West Virginia State Board of Barbers and Cosmetologists are now available on the Governor’s “The Comeback” webpage.
Additionally, the Governor offered a reminder that his “Safer At Home” order will also go into effect on Monday, May 4 – replacing the original “Stay At Home” order issued last month.
“Safer At Home” still strongly encourages all West Virginians to stay at home when not performing essential tasks, but no longer mandates them to stay at home, among several other changes. To read more about the order, including a new list of frequently asked questions, visit the Governor’s “Safer At Home” webpage.
“I encourage all businesses that are allowed to open to do so, only if they follow the guidelines that are designed to keep West Virginians safe,” Gov. Justice said. “We continue to work with business groups to help them establish protocols. You should continue to stay at home if you have symptoms of COVID-19 or have come into contact with someone who has had it.”
Gov. Justice also announced that additional safety guidelines will be released soon for the state’s 11 remaining COVID-19 “hotspot” counties – which are areas subject to stricter measures to slow the spread of the disease as deemed necessary by local health officials.
These remaining hotspots are Berkeley, Cabell, Harrison, Jackson, Jefferson, Kanawha, Marion, Monongalia, Ohio, Wayne, and Wood counties.
“We’ve been in touch with all 11 and we’re continuing to get feedback from our experts, from the counties, and from the people that are on the ground with our health departments,” Gov. Justice said. “We want everybody to come back online and we want to do as much as we possibly can, as we do the baby steps instead of the running, but we are very aware of the hotspot counties, their bordering outside-the-state neighbors, and different issues they might have, so we’re going to try to treat that appropriately.”
Also Friday, Gov. Justice congratulated the West Virginia State Police and DHHR for their efforts to provide medications from the United States Strategic National Stockpile to hospitals across the state.
“Twenty state troopers, working together with the DHHR, have orchestrated the delivery of life-sustaining medications to every hospital across our state in one day,” Gov. Justice said. “These medications, that have shortages nationwide, have been delivered quickly by our troopers to make sure they get to the people of West Virginia.”
In his address following the Governor’s comments, West Virginia Coronavirus Czar Dr. Clay Marsh urged all West Virginians to wear a mask or face covering of some kind as much as possible when outside to protect against the spread of COVID-19 as the state begins to reopen.
“As we go back out again and as we go to the stores or the other activities we like to do, remember: protecting yourself protects your neighbor, which protects our healthcare workers and our healthcare capacity, and also protects our state,” Dr. Marsh said.