Justice Says Health Officials May Have to Start Looking at Changes on County-to-County Basis
By Chris Johnson on November 23, 2020
West Virginia Governor Jim Justice said again during Monday's COVID-19 response press conference that there are no immediate plans to start shutting things down, issuing stay at home orders or tighter restrictions but nothing is off the table.
A more likely scenario would be taking a closer look at counties on a county-by-county basis.
"How can we make this thing better, what can we do," Justice said. "The alternative is to shut stuff down and start issuing stay at home orders. We don't want to do it. The only other we got is the masks. We have to continue to test, we have got to wear a mask. Those are the only bullets we have in the gun other than sending everybody to the house.
"The health experts may have to start going on a county-by-county basis and using some pinpoint selection for tougher guidelines where they may be needed."
The governor begain his press conference by offering his condolences to the families of the most recent coronavirus-related deaths. There have been 28 since his last briefing bringing the state's cumulative total to 667.
"We are still producing good numbers in West Virginia compared to the rest of the nation but those numbers don't mean anything to these families," Justice said. "Please keep them in your thoughts and prayers."
Justice said some of West Virginia's numbers are slightly better over the past 24 hours, referring to the total of new cases at 636. The state's daily percentage rate is at 4.00, the cumulative rate is at 3.48. There are 13,678 active cases and the number of hospitalizations and ICU patients are both record highs at 463 and 136, respectively. As of Monday, there are five red counties in the state and 18 orange.
The state's current RT number is 1.09 which is 23rd best in the country right now. The governor also discussed some of the country's total statistics, including a new record of people hospitalized has been set in the U.S. for 12 consecutive days. Justice also said that between Nov. 1 and Nov. 22 there have been 3 million new cases of COVID-19 recorded, accounting of a quarter of the cumulative total since the pandemic began.
As far as public school outbreaks, Justice said there are currently 25 outbreaks with 90 active cases. There are also 101 outrbreaks in long term care facilities, outbreaks in 22 churches in 16 different counties.
The recent outbreak at Stevens Correctional Facility has improved and according to Justice all but 13 inmates have recovered and all but seven staff members have recovered. Statewide there are currently 20 cases amongst inmates and 27 amongst staff members.
Gov. Justice recognized that today is National Public Health Thank You Day and added that it's a day that should actually be in place very day.
Justice also announced that Major General James Hoyer will be transitioning into a new role for the state in 2021. On Jan. 4, Hoyer will be become the Senior Associate Vice President at WVU where he will continue to work on the governor's COVID response team in a variety of roles.
"I'm not going anywhere, I'm just changing uniforms," Hoyer said. "I want to be right there with you to help the people of West Virginia."
General Bill Crane will take over Hoyer's role with the National Guard.
Information on free testing and where it is available click HERE
Video of Monday's press conference can be viewed below.