CHARLESTON, W.Va. – After going over the latest COVID-19 deaths in West Virginia, which now total 413, Governor Jim Justice issued a warning to state residents, during his news briefing Wednesday.
“The odds are that it is going to even get worse, as we head into flu season and winter,” Justice said.
“I know you’re tired, I know you’ve worked, I know you’re frustrated and confused and all those feelings. We gotta catch another gear. We’ve got this terrible killer and it doesn’t want to go away. We gotta drill it right between the eyes. That’s all there is to it. I promise you, if we step back and lay one right dead between its eyes, we’ll make it go away,” the governor said.
“It is in our power to prevent this. We need to double down West Virginia. We will save the lives of the people that we love and if that’s not enough motivation to get going, well look around the country, because it’s getting worse, it’s getting worse all around us and if we don’t pay a lot fo attention, it’s going to get worse in West Virginia,” the state’s coronavirus “czar” Dr. Clay Marsh said.
“We have the vaccine, the vaccine is our masks, the vaccine is absolutely following guidelines, the vaccine is in our power, right now to stop this,” Justice said.
There is now one “red” and four “orange” counties on the state’s map, down from 10 “orange” counties on Monday, the governor reported.
There are now 20 outbreaks(up one since Monday) in state schools for a total of 68 cases(up nine cases since Monday), Justice said.
Almost 700,000 tests have been done in the state, but more are needed, Justice said. Testing opportunities can be found here.
DHHR officials announced that regional “strike” teams have been set up around the state to respond to COVID-19 issues at nursing homes in the state.
Gov. Justice announced that $25 million in federal CARES Act funding will now be going to help “qualifying West Virginians” to pay for utility bills. The money will go out to companies and public service districts for them to pass along to electric, natural gas, water and sewage customers who were unable to pay utility bills between March 1 and July 31, 2020. Customers will be getting applications in the mail from the companies they use and will need to return them by November 12, Justice said. If residents still have unpaid bills after receiving these benefits, they can call the West Virginia Public Service Commission for help negotiating payment with utility companies, PSC officials said.