WEST VIRGINIA—On Monday, Governor Jim Justice once again sat down with state health, education and emergency response leaders to deliver an update to West Virginians regarding the COVID-19 pandemic.
During the conference, Justice announced that due to the emerging health threat posed by COVID-19 and in accordance with United States President Donald J. Trump’s declaration of a National emergency, he has declared a State of Emergency for all 55 of West Virginia’s counties.
He shared that at the time of the conference there was still yet to be a confirmed case of the virus in West Virginia, after testing 84 individuals, four of which are pending. However, officials are anticipating the illness to strike the Mountain State sooner rather than later.
“The seriousness of the situation continues to be very real,” Gov. Justice announced. “We are taking all the imaginable measures we can to be prepared for this thing.”
Throughout the conference, Justice expressed that one of his main concerns is the state’s elderly population and the high percentage of West Virginians that are living with preexisting health conditions.
“While we are blessed to not have a case this far, we must remain cautious and be proactive. We are a state with a high risk population. We have to take action now, before this thing does get here and it gets ugly fast,” he said. “We simply can’t be asleep at the switch.”
Although the Governor is advising all citizens to take the situation seriously, he is also urging them to remain calm, be smart, practice good hygiene and take care of the elderly, by going to the grocery store for them so they won’t have to go out around crowds.
“Everyone needs to know that there’s going to be plenty of food and groceries. You do not need to make a mad rush to the grocery store,” he remarked.
Justice revealed that prior to the press conference he had been in contact with President Trump, via video conference, where Trump assured him that he had been meeting with the leaders of grocery stores from all over the country.
“Declaring a State of Emergency will open up every resource we’ve got as a state that we can use to fight the spread of this disease,” he voiced. “This is yet another example of us being as proactive as we possibly can be, even though we don’t have a positive case yet. We are doing everything we can to be prepared so we can help protect all West Virginians.”
The governor also touched on the statewide closing of schools saying the situation will reevaluated on March 27, and praised educational leaders, school cooks and bus drivers alike, that have been hard at working seeing that the young students are provided two nutritious meals.
When asked about his plans to call for non-essential businesses, along with restaurants and bars to close, as some states have done, Justice said that he had no plans to do so.
“We have to have a way to keep going and living,” he stated. “ I don’t think it is necessary just yet, but that doesn’t mean it won’t become necessary. We must be smart, but we can’t stop living.”
For additional, and up-to-date information surrounding the Coronavirus, you can visit Coronavirus.wv.gov, or get updates on the governors website, https://governor.wv.gov/.