CHARLESTON, W.Va. – During Friday’s virtual COVID-19 briefing, West Virginia Governor Jim Justice implored state residents to get tested.
The WV DHHR reported 524 new positive cases on Friday morning. Justice framed those positives as a good thing, because the results get those people quarantined, many of whom probably didn’t know they had it, Justice said.
“We have to continue “jacking up the testing,” the governor said. The state is sending 15-18 people at a time to do COVID-19 testing, but not enough local residents are showing up to get tested, Justice detailed, calling it “a real live problem.” “I’m getting sick and tired of listening to Dr. Clay Marsh saying ‘Governor, the people aren’t showing up.'”
“We have to have an avalanche of tests done,” Gov. Justice said, asking resident to compare the 12 deaths at the 2006 Sago Mine Disaster to the 15 COVID-19 deaths in the state since Wednesday, a comparison he’s made before.
Justice said the state is working to increase testing in “gold” counties, in addition to testing that’s already been ramped up in “orange” and “red” counties. Officials are also working to make testing more convenient for residents in terms of location and timing, he said. A list of free testing can be found here. Justice reminded residents that they do not have to live in the county where testing is taking place to take advantage of it.
If state residents don’t work together to stem the tide of COVID-19, “I’m very worried that dark days are coming,” Dr. Marsh warned.
A family setting, like a Thanksgiving dinner, may be less safe than a WVU football game or a live, outdoor concert, Justice said, encouraging residents to take precautions surrounding family gatherings. The governor suggested people screen family members with temperature checks and wear masks while watching football after a Thanksgiving meal. Dr. Marsh also encourage people to get tested prior to going to a family get-together.
Gov. Justice ended the briefing by saying that he was expanding his mantra of “wear your mask, wear your mask, wear your mask” to “go get tested, go get tested, go get tested.”
There are currently 20 outbreaks in state schools, totaling 82 cases.
Also during the briefing, Gov. Justice announced Department of Homeland Security awards that are being given to officials from around the state, including Laura Pysz, the director of the Harrison County Office of Emergency Management, who was honored for her perseverance.