WV Gov. Justice compares those not wearing masks to flat-earthers, touts importance of testing


CHARLESTON, W.Va. – West Virginia Governor Jim Justice began his Wednesday virtual COVID-19 briefing with his take on the importance of wearing masks and getting tested.

Citing a comment he heard on a news broadcast, Gov. Justice compared people not wearing masks to people who believe the earth is flat. He went on to say that not believing in the importance of testing is similar.

The idea that he is only encouraging testing to get kids in school or to play a football game, “is totally preposterous,” the governor continued.

The state is using testing to find asymptomatic spreaders, Justice explained.

West Virginia is tied for 14th in the nation for its testing rate, which is higher than all surrounding states, except for Kentucky, Gov. Justice said.

A list of free COVID-19 testing is available here.

On Wednesday’s state color-coded map, Doddridge County is listed as “red,” while five counties(Berkeley, Marshall, Mingo, Nichols and Randolph are listed as “orange.”

“It doesn’t matter if your county is red or green, you best better keep your guard up,” Justice warned.

Unlike earlier in the pandemic, when outbreaks could be tied to crowds at bars or residents returning from out-of-state vacations, state health officials attributed recent upticks in cases to small family gatherings, fatigue with following guidelines and a lack of mask-wearing.

The governor reported that there are currently 18 outbreaks in schools around the state for a total of 50 cases. Given that number, “It(school) is one doggone safe place to be,” Justice said.

After allowing bars in Monongalia County to reopen on Tuesday, saying it was not a threat, Justice warned bars that don’t follow the guidelines will have their licenses suspended.

The governor wrapped up the briefing by promising to distribute “every last dollar” of federal CARES Act funding by the end of the year.

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