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Justice tightens social distancing guidelines on golf courses

CHARLESTON – If you opt to play golf during the COVID-19 pandemic in West Virginia, you’ll need to ride in a cart by yourself going forward.

Gov. Jim Justice on Thursday announced an executive order that compels all private and public golf courses to “take additional steps to ensure proper social distancing,” including requiring people to ride alone in a cart unless they are playing with someone with whom they reside.

“What we are going to do is, we are going to compel individuals to ride one to a golf cart unless the people reside together,” Justice said during a 12:30 p.m. press briefing.

Justice said the state’s been trying to keep outdoor recreational spaces open but has been steadily receiving reports of people congregating and disobeying six-feet-apart social distancing guidelines.

“I am not trying to hassle anybody, but we’re trying to keep our outdoor spaces open, but we’ve been getting reports of people not complying with social distancing,” the governor said. “I’m just trying to keep you safe, to keep all of us safe and to keep me from having to come here and announce another death to you.”

The order also instructs municipalities to hold their city elections in concert with the new date of the state Primary Election on Tuesday, June 9.

Justice announced the state government, the West Virginia National Guard and a variety of other agencies have teamed up with Thomas Health Systems in the Kanawha Valley to develop a 95-bed alternative care facility, should there be overflow COVID-19 patients.

“I hope we don’t need that, but it’s going to be there if we need it,” Justice said.

Justice warned senior citizens to by wary of scam artists trying to capitalize on people’s fear over the spread of the coronavirus.

“No one from the state or the IRS will call you and ask you to verify financial information or to provide additional financial information,” he said. “If you get one of those calls, call us or report it to the authorities – but do not give your financial information.”

Justice offered his condolences to the family of the most recent COVID-19 related death – an 89-year-old woman who was a resident in the Sundale Nursing Home in Morgantown.

“That’s our fifth death, and it’s now five too many,” the governor said, “so please keep this lady and this family in your thoughts and prayers as Cathy and I will surely be doing.”

State COVID-19 ‘czar’ Dr. Clay Marsh also spoke during the press briefing, saying health data would be updated twice a day on the W.Va. Department of Health and Human Resources’ COVID-19 page – in the morning and around 5 p.m. each day.

Marsh provided some data on how many people have recovered from – or are still battling – the coronavirus. About 10 percent of the 504 patients have recovered, he said, leaving 442 active cases.

“We have active case information on 442 cases,” he said. Of those 442, 26 people are in the intensive care unit on ventilators, 13 of them are in the intensive care unit and have come off ventilators and another 40 are on a hospital medical-surgical floor.

“So, the total in the regular hospital and in ICU is 18 percent,” Marsh said.

He said 363 of the tracked cases are on home isolation.

Of the two cases that have been reported in Upshur County, Upshur-Buckhannon Health Department Nurse Director Sue McKisic said one case is no longer considered active, meaning that person is out of quarantine. The second person who tested positive for COVID-19 is currently on home isolation for a 14-day quarantine period.

Want to keep up-to-date with the latest local information about COVID-19? Bookmark our COVID-19 HQ page, which has the latest local news, numbers and morelike the charts below.

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