CHARLESTON, W.Va. – “It’s not a very good day,” West Virginia Governor Jim Justice said at the beginning of Friday’s virtual COVID-19 briefing, following 12 coronavirus deaths in the state since Wednesday and 191 new active cases in the past 24 hours.
Kanawha, Logan, Mingo and Monroe counties are all listed as “orange” on the state’s color-coded map.
The governor reported the first coronavirus-related death of an inmate in a state correctional facility. A 40-year-old Wood County man, who was being held on federal charges at the South Central Regional Jail, in Charleston, died Friday, officials said.
There are 33 outbreaks in nursing homes, down from 39 on Wednesday. The largest remain at facilities in Grant, Kanawha, Logan, Mercer, Monroe, Raleigh and Taylor counties, Justice said.
The number of hospitalized COVID-19 patients have gone down in the state, Justice said.
The governor offered the following on what state residents’ resolve should be:
“If you’re squirrel hunting or whatever it may be and you’re wanting to climb up on top of the ridge, maybe you’re going up there to bow hunt or just going up there to hike, but just think about it, when you start up that mountain, it’s not too terrible steep and then as you go, the last part of the mountain is always the steepest and absolutely right now, we’re in the last part of the mountain until we’ll have a drug or a vaccine. I know how easy it would be to slide back down and say ‘aw heck, we just can’t make it up there’ and slide down and then we start regressing and that’s bad. Right now is when you’ve really gotta suck it up West Virginia and hang with me. We’re going to get there and everything.”Gov. Jim Justice
Gov. Justice also announced that he was looking at allowing bars in Monongalia County to reopen on August 31, he said. The bars will have to follow very stringent guidelines and may have to expand fenced-in outdoor areas, Justice said. “If we have to back away from it, we will,” the governor continued. Bars in Monongalia County have been shut down since July 14.
The governor also announced that Highmark has made a $500,000 donation to the West Virginia Department of Education for PPE and cleaning supplies.
Justice also lauded state residents for filing out the 2020 U.S. Census, with West Virginia’s response rate now above 90%.
Gov. Justice also announced that he has issued a State of Preparedness for all 55 counties in West Virginia, in preparation for rain expected to hit the state this weekend related to Hurricane Laura.