Gov. Justice announces changes to how WVU students are counted on state COVID-19 map

Coronavirus

CHARLESTON, W.Va. – West Virginia Governor Jim Justice asked West Virginians to “step up” for the state’s elderly population after 10 more COVID-19 deaths, all of them elderly residents. The state’s coronavirus death total now stands at 290.

Justice and state health and education officials announced plans for changing the way positive COVID-19 cases in Monongalia County are counted for purposes of the state’s color-coded map.

The positive cases in Monongalia County are mainly in the 20-29 age group and are mainly in Morgantown, Monongalia County Health Officer Dr. Lee Smith said. There are currently 104 positive cases in Monongalia County among people between the ages of 10-19 and 109 between 20-29, according to the WV DHHR website.

State education officials announced that on-campus students who are quarantining together in a secure and monitored facility will be counted as one case. The proposed changes should happen by Thursday at midnight and will likely move Monongalia County to the “orange” status, officials said.

Officials will also offer incentives to off-campus students to move into on-campus facilities to quarantine. Students in quarantine who do follow the policies face disciplinary action through WVU, officials said.

Officials are also working on a plan for continued testing of college students. Justice and state officials pushed for more people to get tested in the hopes of finding people who have no symptoms and are spreading the virus.

In addition to Monongalia County, Kanawha County has turned “red” on the state’s map. Neither county has started in-person learning yet this school year.

Gov. Justice also announced that CARES Act funding for 3,400 families of essential workers will be made available for daycare costs. Justice committed $6 million to continue the funding through the end of the year. Federal money for the daycare program ran out at the beginning of September.

The governor also said he would look at a request from Del. John Williams(D-Monongalia) for $25 million in CARES Act funding for bars that Justice has closed down in Monongalia County.

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