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Gov. Jim Justice has declared a state of emergency for all 55 of West Virginia’s counties in response to the coronavirus. The announcement was made at a news conference Monday following a federal state of emergency declaration over the weekend.
To date, no cases of coronavirus have been reported in West Virginia. The Department of Health and Human Resources reports 84 people have been tested. Of those 80 were negative and 4 results are still pending.
Justice and other state officials say they believe the virus to be in the state, but that it has not yet been detected.
Justice’s General Counsel Brian Abraham says the emergency declaration allows the governor to suspend laws and rules related to state purchasing of supplies. It also allows the state to relax personnel requirements for hours worked and sick time for public employees.
Gov. Justice announced that all schools would be closed until March 27. State officials have put into place ways for students to receive meals while schools are shut down.
At Monday's news conference, Justice urged West Virginians to not be afraid, but to be “smart” and help others in need.