CHARLESTON, W.Va. – West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice’s concerns about the state’s current COVID-19 situation were very evident during his virtual COVID-19 briefing Friday:
“West Virginia we are absolutely trending in a very, very poor way at this point in time.”
“I am really, really concerned. I am really concerned.”
“I truly believe it’s going to get worse before it gets better.”Gov. Jim Justice
On the DHHR’s daily map, there are now six “red” counties and 14 “orange” counties.
Gov. Justice’s comments focused on what state residents should be doing to stem the tide of positive cases.
“For God’s sakes, if we don’t listen to them, we’re idiots,” Justice said, in reference to the state’s medical experts recommendations to wear masks. “Do you want to listen to politicians or medical experts?,” Justice asked.
“It’s time for us to do better work and that better is right now moving to all of us being committed to wear our masks and when you wear a mask, wear it over your nose, wear it over your mouth. If you leave your nose uncovered, it doesn’t really work,” said West Virginia’s said coronavirus “czar” Dr. Clay Marsh. “It is time to step up and we’re not doing a good enough job at this point,” Marsh continued.
Justice also offered direct quotes from CDC recommendations that urge people to postpone travel for the Thanksgiving holiday, along with celebrating virtually or just with people you live with.
State health officials also urged residents to not go out to bars on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving, as had become tradition for many.
Justice again addressed blowback he’s received since updating the state’s mask mandate last week: “We’re not moving towards shutting anything down at this point in time, but absolutely this thing is trending and it is trending badly. I want to protect your freedoms, I want to protect your safety, I want to protect your job, I want to protect the economies, I want to protect every bit of that and I’ll do that for all.” Justice also said: “If this situation continues to get worse, we’re going to have no choice.” You can watch his full comments on the issue below:
Responding to a question about concerns surrounding the postponement of high school football playoff games involving Berkeley County teams, Justice said: “Sports have got to take a backseat right now. They have to. I want our kids to be able to play too, but at some point we’re going to have to realize that sports don’t mean doodley right now. It absolutely needs to take a major backseat to the fact that we’ve got people dying.”
The governor provided an update on an executive order he issued last Friday, calling for the testing of all workers at nursing homes in the state, twice a week. Initial testing has found asymptomatic positives at 11 nursing homes, Justice reported.
Gov. Justice also announced that a new map showing free testing locations across the state, is now available online.
The state is prepared to distribute vaccines as soon as they are available, Justice said.
Gov. Justice also went over schedules changes for COVID-19 briefings for the Thanksgiving holiday week. Briefings on Monday and Wednesday will most likely be moved to 1:00 p.m. and no briefing will be held on Friday, the governor said.
Justice also talked about the traditions surrounding the state’s gun-buck hunting season and encouraged hunters to be safe in the woods.