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Coronavirus and COVID-19 News & Resources

West Virginia Reports 5th COVID-19 Death, Adds Guidelines For Golfers, Offers More Detailed Data

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Office of Gov. Jim Justice
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West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice speaks during a briefing to update the public on the state's response to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic on Thursday, April 9, 2020.

Now more than three weeks into responding to the coronavirus pandemic, West Virginia has confirmed its fifth death related to the virus. As part of the continued effort to slow the spread of COVID-19, Gov. Jim Justice has added another executive order outlining social distancing guidelines. State officials are now also offering more detailed information on the cases that have been confirmed. 

State health officials have announced an 89-year-year-old woman from Sundale Nursing home in Monongalia County has died as a result of COVID-19. That marks the second death from the virus associated with the nursing home in Morgantown. 

Justice also announced a new executive order that calls on public and private golf courses to take additional measures to ensure social distancing. The governor is calling for only one person to be allowed per cart unless they reside together. 

“This is just another heads up that people have given us,” Justice said. “We are trying to keep our outdoor spaces open. But people are telling us that [other] people are not complying with the social distancing.” 

Justice also said, though an executive order, municipal elections are allowed to be held June 9, the same day as the state’s rescheduled primary elections. The governor said those orders continue to be made to ensure public safety. 

“I am not trying to hassle anybody,” Justice said. “All I am trying to do is keep you safe and keep all of us safe and keep us going in the right trend-line and minimize me having to come here and announce another death.”

Justice and other state officials continue to urge residents to stay at home and to follow recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention by keeping six feet apart.

As of the West Virginia Department of Health of Human Resources’ Thursday morning report, 485 positive cases have been confirmed. 

The state’s so-called coronavirus czar, Dr. Clay Marsh, outlined more detailed data related to active cases and hospitalizations. Marsh noted that the numbers, which have been compiled with the help of the West Virginia Hospital Association, do differ slightly from the latest information from the DHHR. 

“This is something new so that we can become more current to allow people who have media cycles or people that are just avid followers of these statistics, to be able to get on and stay current with what they're seeking,” Marsh said, noting a lag in state-level reporting occurs as a result of case numbers first coming from counties.

Of the 442 cases considered “active” — based on the data Marsh outlined —  26 people are on ventilators, 13 are in an intensive care unit, 40 others are hospitalized and 363 people are reportedly isolating at home. As of Thursday, an additional 57 West Virginians have recovered from COVID-19.

Marsh said that data would soon be available on the DHHR’s website providing information on the state’s response to the coronavirus. 

Responding to a request from West Virginia Public Broadcasting, state officials said Wednesday West Virginia has 509 ventilators available. The state has so far received zero additional ventilators out of a request of 400 from the national stockpile. 

According to the latest projections from the University of Washington’s Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation, 55 ventilators will be needed when the impact of COVID-19 peaks in West Virginia. That peak is currently forecasted to occur on April 15.


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