The West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources announced Monday that 60 new cases of COVID-19 have been identified in the Mountain State.
Two additional deaths have been attributed to the disease, according to the DHHR – an 83-year old male from Kanawha County and a 74-year old male from Logan County.
“The number of deaths we have to report today is staggering,” Gov. Jim Justice said during his daily press briefing Monday. He then listed the 14 new deaths reported over the weekend.
“The magnitude of this across our nation is astronomical,” Justice said, referencing the more than 160,000 Americans who have died of the virus. “A lot of us would like to think, ‘Oh, it’s just the flu, it’s just a bad flu.’ But it’s not that. It’s just staggering to think about.”
Justice said people might wonder why he spends so much time during every press conference addressing the West Virginians who have died due to COVID-19.
“Do they not at least deserve this, for me to read these and not just announce 14 deaths and move on?”
Justice also spoke about the reopening plan for schools, saying the situation remains fluid.
The governor pointed to imminent cancelation of college football and recent developments involving the spread of the virus in young people and made it clear no final decision on the reopening of schools has been made, saying an all-virtual option remains available if conditions warrant.
While in-person school continues to be the governor’s preference, Justice said he will not put children in danger.
Dr. Clay Marsh, the state coronavirus czar, went into greater detail on the way the virus spreads among youth, saying a recent study showed that 97,000 children contracted COVID-19 just in the last two weeks of July.
Justice said a final decision on whether schools will reopen as planned will be made by Sept. 1.
The governor also addressed President Donald Trump’s executive order that will require states to pay a portion of the increased unemployment benefits. That will cost West Virginia about $26 million a week to implement, according to Justice.
“We’re gonna pay it,” Justice said. “We cannot let our people who are setting out there with no job … wilt on the bank. We’re going to pay it, and we’re going to very willingly pay it.”
Justice also said the daily COVID-19 numbers have stabilized somewhat in the West Virginia. The DHHR announced 60 new cases on Monday.
“The West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources reports as of 10 a.m. on August 10, 2020, there have been 326,886 total confirmatory laboratory results received for COVID-19, with 7,754 total cases and 141 deaths,” according to a press release.
New cases were reported Monday in Berkeley, Cabell, Fayette, Gilmer, Hardy, Harrison, Jackson, Jefferson, Kanawha, Logan, McDowell, Mercer, Mineral, Monongalia, Morgan, Ohio, Pendleton, Raleigh, Summers, Wayne, Wetzel, Wirt, Wood and Wyoming counties.
About 1,914 West Virginia cases remain active, according DHHR data. Of the cases that are no longer active, 5,699 people have recovered and 141 have died. The daily percent positive was 1.51%.
CASES PER COUNTY (Case confirmed by lab test/Probable case): Barbour (29/0), Berkeley (671/27), Boone (101/0), Braxton (8/0), Brooke (63/1), Cabell (395/9), Calhoun (6/0), Clay (18/0), Doddridge (6/0), Fayette (151/0), Gilmer (17/0), Grant (120/1), Greenbrier (93/0), Hampshire (76/0), Hancock (108/4), Hardy (60/1), Harrison (223/3), Jackson (165/0), Jefferson (289/7), Kanawha (925/13), Lewis (28/1), Lincoln (87/0), Logan (234/0), Marion (187/4), Marshall (126/4), Mason (56/0), McDowell (63/1), Mercer (200/0), Mineral (121/2), Mingo (171/2), Monongalia (928/17), Monroe (20/1), Morgan (28/1), Nicholas (36/1), Ohio (266/3), Pendleton (40/1), Pleasants (11/1), Pocahontas (40/1), Preston (104/21), Putnam (194/1), Raleigh (248/7), Randolph (205/5), Ritchie (3/0), Roane (15/0), Summers (12/0), Taylor (55/1), Tucker (10/0), Tyler (13/0), Upshur (37/3), Wayne (208/2), Webster (4/0), Wetzel (43/0), Wirt (7/0), Wood (238/12), Wyoming (34/0).