CHARLESTON - Gov. Jim Justice announced during his virtual press conference Thursday that Berkeley and Jefferson counties have triggered the state’s new Heightened Alert System.

Over the past 24 hours, Jefferson County had 20 new COVID-19 cases, while Berkeley County had 15 new cases.

As a result, the Governor has ordered the West Virginia National Guard to travel to these two counties immediately to assess the needs of county health officials, to provide them with resources, and to work alongside state medical experts in efforts to limit the spread of COVID-19.

“The National Guard is going to report back to me in the morning,” Gov. Justice said. “It may very well be that we have got to take more stringent guidelines than what we have today there. And, if we do, we’ll do that tomorrow.

“My first and foremost responsibility is to protect you and that’s what I’m going to do. I take that responsibility very seriously,” Gov. Justice continued. “I would urge all West Virginians – especially those in Berkeley and Jefferson counties – you have got to wear a mask when you go out in public.

“We’re doing exactly what I said we were going to do; we’re running to the fire. We’re absolutely going to take care of this to the best of our ability. We can’t just step back and let it go. Because, if we just step back and let it go and do nothing, it’s going to brew into something that’s not going to be good.”