‘Bear down and buckle up’: Governor urges West Virginians to take action against COVID-19 – WV News

Posted: March 22, 2020 at 9:53 pm


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CHARLESTON Gov. Jim Justice in a public address Saturday warned that the state could end up in the same situation as New York City if directives to prevent the spread of the coronavirus known as COVID-19 are not followed.

Justice said he would not shut down the entire state now, and asked instead for all residents to bear down and buckle up to follow directives to stay home when possible, wash hands thoroughly and often and keep hands away from the face.

An additional four cases of COVID-19 disease were confirmed in the stateSaturday, bringing the total to 12. Marshall County had its first two cases Saturday, and Kanawha County and Mercer County had one additional case each.

There are now two cases each in Jefferson, Marshall, Mercer, Kanawha and Tucker counties and one each in Jackson and Monongalia, according to the state Department of Health and Human Resources.

As of Saturday evening, 397 state residents had been tested for COVID-19, with 385 negatives and one test pending at the state lab. The 397 total includes tests from the states public health lab, commercial labs and hospitals, according to the DHHR.

Also Saturday, the West Virginia Supreme Court's administrative branch, which oversees the state's circuit court system, released a statement saying one of the positive cases in Kanawha County involved a court worker, who has been hospitalized.

In his public address, the governor sounded a note of urgency.

I hate to alarm you in any way, shape or form or fashion," Justice said, "but weve got to move and weve got to move right now to save additional lives. If you look at where New York is today, think about where New York was roughly 10 days ago.

Justice compared the number of coronavirus infections in New York City to the number in West Virginia and said, as a percentage of the total population, the state today is in about the same situation as New York City was 10 days ago.

There was a wave coming, a potential wave that could be absolutely so destructive its unbelievable. Youre seeing it in New York. Youre seeing it tonight. Youre seeing panic. Youre seeing a situation where there could very well be thousands die, the governor said. Think where we could end up 10 days from today.

Justice was joined by Dr. Clay Marsh, vice president and dean of WVU Health Sciences, who praised the aggressive preventive actions that West Virginia has taken.

New York City did not, and now theyre underwater. And we know with information from China, which weve learned from, that once were underwater, it takes about two weeks to recover in any way, Marsh said. We have a real opportunity, but that opportunity is time-limited.

Justice said West Virginians have the power to stop the spread of the disease.

This terrible monster has got to have the ability to jump from person to person, and if it doesnt it dies, and it dies very quickly. And as we stay apart and the numbers flatten out, then our health-care systems can take care of us and can take care of each and every one of us in a way that keeps us somewhat safe, Justice said. The numbers dont skyrocket.

According to Justice, about 60% of state residents are doing what they need to do to slow the spread of COVID-19, but 40% have failed to recognize the danger faced in a state with a comparatively large population at higher risk of severe complications from the virus, including the elderly and people with chronic health conditions.

Justice also took time to praise the individuals who are doing their part, including seniors who are staying home, grocery store workers who staying on the job,health-care workers who are risking their own health to take care of others, as well as the West Virginia National Guard, school systems and counties that are feeding 200,000 kids who are not in schools.

The governor renewed his promise that the federal and state governments will step up to make businesses and citizens as whole as they can be economically.

Staff Writer JoAnn Snoderly can be reached at 304-626-1445, by email at jsnoderly@theet.com or on Twitter at @JoAnnSnoderly.

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'Bear down and buckle up': Governor urges West Virginians to take action against COVID-19 - WV News

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March 22nd, 2020 at 9:53 pm

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