The West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources reported 9 more coronavirus-related deaths over the weekend, bringing the state’s total to 266. Of those confirmed deceased on September 13, eight were in their 70s, 80s or 90s. The ninth was a 59-year old Fayette County man.
At his September 11 coronavirus media-briefing, Gov. Jim Justice called for a renewed effort on the part of West Virginians to contain the spread of the virus.
“These numbers are everywhere. They’re going all over our state,” the Gov. said. “We’re dealing with life and death here. If we use good judgement, we’ll shut this thing down.”
Gov. Justice also stressed the urgency of increased testing. Thus far, West Virginia has performed a total of 483,468 COVID-19 tests, which have yielded 12,403 confirmed positive, and 296 probable cases of coronavirus among residents. This has resulted in a cumulative positivity-rate of 2.63%, a number that has been steadily rising for several weeks.
“We need to test more and more and more and more. It could very well be, in some ways, not testing enough is driving our numbers up,” Justice continued. “It doesn’t drive your numbers down by not testing. The more that we test the better off we’ll be from the standpoint of being able to drive our numbers down. Not only will it give us a whole lot more information, but it will drive our numbers down.”
The daily positivity-rate continues to be a concern. At 3.20%, the number is down considerably from last week’s high of 7.02%. However, Johns Hopkins University Coronavirus Resource Center reports that, as of September 13, the national average is 4.8%. The national positivity-rate has been trending down since the end of July, and has now sustained several days under 5.0%. In three of the last seven-days, West Virginia’s daily positivity-rate has exceeded the national number.
Despite the state’s upward-trend in positive cases, West Virginia is still doing better than it’s border states, and the nation as a whole in most containment-metrics. The percentage of West Virginians who have tested positive for COVID-19 is 0.69. This is lower than all 5 border states, and substantially below the national average of 1.90%. And with regard to case-fatalities, W.Va. is currently at 2.16%. Only Virginia’s 2.16%, and Kentucky’s 1.89% are lower. The national average is 2.89%. And although the Governor has called for the additional testing of as many as 7,000 residents per week, West Virginia still leads the country with 26.52% of its population having already been tested.
“The more we test, the more we learn,” Gov. Justice said. “We’ve got to be testing.”
Justice also implored West Virginians to be even more dedicated to the practice of wearing masks, stating, “These numbers are getting worse and kids aren’t able to go to school. And we know if we would just wear our masks all the time when we’re outside in public places, or any kind of setting where people would be in close proximity to you, why in the world can’t we wear a mask? It is absolutely so simple…we gotta do a lot better.”
When asked if there would potentially be any consequences for adults who refuse to wear a mask, Gov. Justice said it was something that is being looked into.
Gov. Justice concluded the media-briefing by saying: “I would ask you to pray,” and “I plead with you, please wear your masks.”