WEST VIRGINIA— On Monday, West Virginia Governor Jim Justice announced that the Novel Coronavirus 2019 is now transmitting within the state, leading him to put a “Stay at Home” order in place.
Prior to Monday, all reported cases of the virus in West Virginia were said to have been travel related, however, that is no longer the case.
“We now have our first case of community transmission from a nursing home facility in Monongalia County,” the governor revealed. “Despite the efforts we have put in place to stop the spread, it hasn’t been enough, and now we have to act fact to contain this thing.”
Justice added to that by saying as a precaution all of the residents within said facility will be tested in the upcoming days.
In addition, he made it known that testing is being ramped up throughout the entire state, with 49 hospitals being designated test sites and another 19 communities operating drive thru test locations more and more individuals are receiving much needed testing.
Gov. Justice also shared other ways the state is moving to be proactive and prepared during this pandemic. Those included obtaining supplies and protective suits from Maryland and working with medical schools in the state to have extra hands and rooms on standby in case of a surge.
“We were able to get WVU and Marshall on board almost immediately to help us out with additional people and the use of dorm rooms if we should see the need,” he said. “We are doing everything in our power to be more prepared than ever.”
To continue he noted that the state is working tirelessly to process unemployment claims at “lightspeed,” and have processed more than 17,000 claims thus far.
“As a state, we are doing everything we can, but it is not enough, we simply must do more,” Justice proclaimed.
He then announced his decision to set a “Stay at Home” order in place.
“The virus is not originating from inside the state. We have to act, and we have to act now to decrease its rate of spread, before we have a surge on our hands. We do not want that surge that some other states are experiencing. We can’t risk it. We cannot overwhelm our health care workers and system,” he expressed.
Justice said he wanted residents to know that the order was not for Martial Law, it was not closing down roadways or bridges, that individuals can still leave to preform or receive essential services.
The order states that individuals may still travel to the grocery store, pharmacy, medical appointments, visit a restaurant for takeout or drive thru, supply care or support to friends and family, be outdoors, as long as the six-feet distance is maintained between yourself and others and received deliveries from any business that offers those services.
While the order means folks should not go to unless they are providing an essential service or work for an essential business as defined by the order which can be found by visiting, governor.wv.gov. Additionally, it states that visits to family or friends if there is no urgent need, should be avoided.
Individuals are asked to maintain six feet of distance between others when going out and the Governor reminded that no one should be visiting patients of the hospitals, nursing home residents or other like facilities.
Justice shared that be believes this was a natural next step to protect West Virginians, but still continued to urge residents to get outdoors, as long as the recommended distancing is maintained, and to continue to worship.
“We can’t gather as large groups right now, but that doesn’t mean the worshiping has to stop,” Justice shared. “We have folks getting together to worship in smart, safe and creative ways. Continue with that.”
On the heels of that statement Governor Jim Justice has declared today, Wednesday, March 25, 2020, as a day of state prayer.
“If there is anytime, now is the time we need to be looking to god above for assistance,” Justice expressed.
He again stressed the magnitude of the situation and urged all West Virginians to heed the warnings and follow the recommendations set in place by himself and the CDC.
“This disease is really serious stuff. Please stay home, please listen to our order, and please in every way shape, form or fashion keep consulting your God above, and absolutely every one of us will get through this.”