More information on effects of COVID-19 on WV’s African American population released during Gov. Justice’s Friday briefing

Coronavirus

CHARLESTON, W.Va. – Earlier this week, Justice announced the creation of an advisory task force for the state’s African American population. Today, state health officials gave further details, saying that 95 out of the state’s 1,310 positive COVID-19 cases are African Americans. The percent of positives among blacks, 7.3%, is higher than the state’s black population percentage, 4.2%, officials said.

There are 13 counties in the state with at least one African American who has tested positive, they said. The percentage of positive cases involving African Americans is higher in the following counties than the percentage of the population they make up in those counties: Berkeley, Jefferson, Marion, McDowell, Mercer, Monongalia and Putnam, Dr. Cathy Slemp said.

County by county demographic information will be on the DHHR’s website by 5:00 p.m. Friday, officials said.

People have been contacted to join the advisory task force and a meeting is being set up for next Monday, according to officials.

On the economic front, under the governor’s “West Virginia Strong: A Comeback” plan, businesses that will be allowed to reopen in week four, which begins on May 18, will be announced next week, he said. Guidance for how those businesses should reopen will also be released next week, Justice said.

Justice announced that the Hatfield-McCoy ATV trail system will be reopened on Thursday, May 21 prior to Memorial Day Weekend, with limitations. Those limitations include:

  • PPE: Riders are encouraged to wear face masks or face shields while stopped. All riders, by law, must wear a helmet while riding.
  • Self screening: Riders are encouraged to self screen for COVID-19 symptoms by CDC guidelines.
  • Temperature checks: Riders are encouraged to take their temperature prior to arriving at the trails. If their temperature measures over 100 degrees, the riders are not permitted to enter the trails.
  • Sick rider: Any rider or visitor who exhibits COVID-19 symptoms must leave the trails immediately and seek medical care and/or COVID-19 testing, per CDC guidelines.
  • Limit groups: Riders are prohibited from congregating on the trails.
  • Physical distancing: Practice proper social distancing, including a minimum of six feet of distance where practical and safe to do so.
  • Shared vehicles: Riders are discouraged from sharing a UTV, ATV, or off-road dirt bike with anyone outside their immediate group or party.
  • Shared equipment: Riders are discouraged from sharing safety equipment or masks.

“Anyone who’s coming to our trails from out-of-state, we expect you to respect us,” Gov. Justice said. “We want you to protect yourself but we need to protect ourselves. We will watch this like a hawk,” Justice said.

The governor ended the briefing by encouraging everyone to thank their mothers this weekend.

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