Gov. Justice attributes big jump in COVID-19 cases to increased testing, defends CARES Act spending

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CHARLESTON, W.Va. – “It’s not the worst thing for us to be coming up with additional positives,” West Virginia Governor Jim Justice said at the beginning of his virtual COVID-19 briefing on Friday.

Justice’s statement comes after the West Virginia DHHR announced 498 new cases in the state from Thursday to Friday. With more testing “we’ll be able to stop this thing,” Justice said. The governor continued to encourage residents to take advantage of free testing.

Referencing the latest color-coded map from the DHHR, Justice said: “We’re seeing less green on the map,” and said it’s a reflection of the outbreaks that are happening all over the country.

There are now 21 outbreaks in schools in the state for a total of 57 cases, along with 43 outbreaks in long-term care facilities, the governor said.

Following the COVID-19-related death of a former West Virginia National Guardsman, Maj. General James Hoyer asked residents to put aside philosophical disagreements about individual rights and wear masks to protect fellow West Virginians.

Responding to criticism on how the state has handled CARES ACT funding, Gov. Justice went over a new chart showing how he said the money has been allocated.

After detailing how the money is slotted, Justice further defended his handling of the funding:

“Do let anybody feed you this junk that there’s this hoarding of this money. If somebody tries to project and say to you, well you know Justice is hoarding money or whatever, they’re out of their mind. It’s frivolous to just think that there’s money that’s unobligated, unpledged, that’s just sitting there that’s not needed and not going to be used between now and December the 30th. Do you honestly think that I have lost my mind? I mean there’s no way on this planet that I’m going to send the money back to the federal government. There’s no money that’s being hoarded, no money spent on pork or pet projects. This was handled the right way.”

WV Gov. Jim Justice

The governor further said that handling the money any other way would have led to an increase in taxes.

Governor Justice encouraged West Virginians to get out and enjoy fall foliage and take advantage of fall trout stocking around the state.The live briefing will be streamed on and the 12 News App. Full video of the briefing, along with a written recap, will be added to this story following the briefing’s conclusion.

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