CHARLESTON, W.Va. – West Virginia Governor Jim Justice described the state’s COVID-19 situation as “critical” during his Wednesday briefing.
“West Virginia, we are absolutely getting worse by the day and this situation right now is very critical. You need to all know that. West Virginians, you’re going to have to buckle down,” Justice said.
The state has more active cases than ever before, its daily percent positive rate has risen to 7.78% and West Virginia has had the worst Rt rate in the nation, for four days in a row.
Pocahontas County is now “orange” on the state’s color-coded map, the ninth county in the state listed as “red” or “orange.”
State officials will begin releasing the color coded map that governs school attendance and athletic participation, at 5:00 p.m. on Saturdays, instead of 9:00 p.m. as it has been the previous two weeks.
Adding restrictions to counties in red or orange is a possibility, Justice said. “Right now we don’t think we have to do it, but we don’t want to take anything off the table,” the governor said.
“We are reaching a very very critical time, a time when we have got to do better, we have got to do any and everything we can to do better,” Gov. Justice said.
The governor again laid blame of the spread in West Virginia on residents returning home from out-of-state travel: “I know you’ve got to live your daily lives, but when we tell you it’s absolutely not advisable to go to Myrtle Beach, hang out on the beach, and you do that, then it can cause real repercussions.”
Justice pointed out that New York and Connecticut, which he described as “the absolute places that were the worst of the worst,” are now asking West Virginians to quarantine for 14 days if they visit those states.
The governor suggested that the state’s coronavirus numbers would improve if more people were tested. He pointed to decisions by several county boards of education, in southern West Virginia, to not test high school athletes as “a missed opportunity.”
Free testing is scheduled for Sunday, Sept. 13 from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. at Mylan Park in Monongalia County.
Gov. Justice again pleaded with landlords in the state: “please don’t evict people now,” but said he can’t stop them from doing so. He suggested that the West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals could act on the issue.