Gov. Justice again closes visitation to nursing homes in WV, extends Mon County bar closure order


CHARLESTON, W.Va. – During his virtual COVID-19 briefing on Wednesday, West Virginia Governor Jim Justice announced that he would again be shutting down visitation to all nursing homes in the state.

The announcement comes after 12 more COVID-19 deaths in West Virginia, since Monday, taking the state’s total 153.

There are currently 28 nursing homes in the state with outbreaks, Justice said.

State health officials are looking into further education for nursing home staff to also help slow the spread of coronavirus in long term care facilities, they said. A nursing home alert system is also in the works, officials said.

State officials will work to come up with a county-by-county metric to decide which nursing homes should be closed to visitation, in the future, the governor said.

The governor’s executive order, which takes effect at 12:01 a.m. Thursday, can be read here.

Justice first asked nursing homes to shutdown visitations on March 12, before reopening them on June 10.

State health officials announced changes in the way the state will release COVID-19 data. Reports will now include probable COVID-19 deaths along with confirmed deaths. Confirmed and probable cases will now be combined into one number, officials said. The changes will put West Virginia’s reports in line with the way others states are presenting their data, according to WV DHHR officials.

Gov. Justice also announced that his bar closure order in Monongalia County will be extended for seven more days. West Virginia university requested the extension, Justice said. The governor took the Monongalia County Commission to task for not offering specific, “inside baseball” input on what should be done with the closure order. “We’ve got to have our local leaders be willing to make recommendations,” Justice said. The updated executive order can be read here.

Worked has started on the Kids Connect internet initiative to set up around 1,000 wi-fi locations around the state for students to utilize during virtual learning and should be done around Sept. 8, Justice said.

The governor said that he wants high school sports to be played this fall, but said that may have to happen with no fans or with only family members in attendance. WVU and the Big 12’s decision to move forward with fall sports was made on “real guidance” from experts, Justice believes. The governor respects the decision, he said.

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