Governor: No COVID-19 in West Virgina; Schools will close after school Friday

Coronavirus

From left: Jerry Falwell Jr., President of Liberty University, and Jim Justice, Governor of West Virginia, answer questions at a press conference at Blue Ridge Community and Technical College on Tuesday, Jan. 28, 2020 in Martinsburg, W.Va. (Ron Agnir/The Journal via AP)

CHARLESTON, WV (WOWK) – West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice says the Mountain State still has no confirmed cases of COVID-19. At this time 12 people have been tested, 11 have come back negative and one case is still pending.

Justice says he will be closing schools at the end of school today for the time being. He says it is important to make sure the needs of students are taken care of, and closing the schools will also help prevent the spread of the virus should it reach West Virginia.

West Virginia Superintendent of Schools Clayton Burch says, “There are roughly 200,000 kids that rely on school for food. We have every county giving us an emergency plan on how they will help those kids.”

The governor says that while the virus hasn’t reached West Virginia, the state needs to be prepared. He says issuing the state-employee travel ban on both national and international travel and canceling the state tournaments yesterday was a tough decision, but believes it was the best course. He still urges all West Virginians to reconsider any nonessential out-of-state travel and discourages groups and organizations from hosting large events.

“We’ve got a monster that’s looming, but the monster’s not here,” Justice says. “Go about your lives, don’t panic. We will get through this.”

“West Virginia is a low-risk state because there isn’t much international travel here. The governor is being proactive in closing the schools,” Bill Crouch, WV Department Health and Human Resources, says.

Earlier this month, Justice and the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources announced an information hotline to address public and medical provider questions and concerns regarding the coronavirus. Anyone with questions can call 24/7, toll-free, at 1-800-887-4304.

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