The West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources announced Saturday that 1,153 new cases of COVID-19 have been identified in the Mountain State.
Locally, new cases were reported in Upshur (5), Lewis (3), Barbour (9) and Randolph (9) counties.
Nine additional deaths have been attributed to the disease, according to the DHHR – a 71-year old male from Berkeley County, an 87-year old male from Summers County, a 61-year old male from Greenbrier County, a 77-year old male from Wayne County, an 80-year old female from Marshall County, an 83-year old female from Barbour County, an 86-year old female from Kanawha County, a 57-year old male from Kanawha County, and a 91-year old male from Cabell County.
The number of hospitalizations also hit a new high on Saturday as the state’s healthcare system begins to show signs of strain under the surge of new cases.
Saturday’s record-setting report came one day after announced a slate of new executive orders. Those include:
- Requiring masks in all indoor spaces outside the home.
- Closing schools statewide from Nov. 26 through at least Dec. 2 so health officials can evaluate the spread resulting from Thanksgiving gatherings. Remote learning will continue over that time.
- Postponing winter sports until at least Jan. 11, 2021.
- Mandating that all doctors, nurses, staff and employees working at nursing homes and assisted living facilities be tested for COVID-19 twice a week.
In an additional statement released late Friday afternoon, Justice made it clear that state residents and businesses should be prepared to face consequences if they risk other people’s health by violating the new executive order requiring masks in all indoor spaces.
“No one has the right to risk anyone else’s health,” Justice said. “If you feel that you don’t want to wear a mask, then the answer is simple: don’t go into businesses or any other public buildings and risk harming your fellow West Virginians. Too many of our neighbors are getting sick, going to the ICU, and dying.”
According to Justice, anyone who observes an individual or business in violation should contact police. Officers will then ask the person to comply with the executive order, and if they refuse, they would be arrested for obstructing an officer.
“If a business asks you to put on a mask or leave, and you refuse to do so, you are violating the law,” Justice said. “If a police officer orders you to put on a mask or leave, and you refuse to do so, you are also violating the law. If a police officer orders a business to enforce our indoor face covering requirement, and they refuse to do so, the business is violating the law. There are real penalties for these violations.”
According to W.Va. State Code, obstructing an officer is a misdemeanor punishable by a fine of $50 to $500 and up to one year in jail.
“I am trying with all in me to avoid a loss of our businesses and your jobs. But I am also trying with all in me to avoid a massive loss of life in West Virginia,” Justice said.
The Mountain State has reported more than 5,000 new cases in just the last week. That’s more cases in seven days than the state saw over the entire first four months of the pandemic.
“The West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources reports as of 10 a.m., November 14, 2020, there have been 911,868 total confirmatory laboratory results received for COVID-19, with 32,792 total cases and 574 deaths,” according to a press release.
About 9,141 West Virginia cases remain active, according DHHR data. Of the cases that are no longer active, 23,077 people have recovered and 574 have died. The daily percent positive was 5.93%.
A total of 61 cases are active in Upshur County, according to the DHHR. The county remains in the red by infection rate but is colored yellow on the daily alert map due to the positivity percentage, which includes less than half the cases reported over the last four days.
The DHHR data also does not include at least six Upshur County cases that are being reported by the Upshur-Buckhannon Health Department.
CASES PER COUNTY: Barbour (258), Berkeley (2162), Boone (501), Braxton (92), Brooke (359), Cabell (2087), Calhoun (43), Clay (94), Doddridge (86), Fayette (942), Gilmer (174), Grant (229), Greenbrier (298), Hampshire (202), Hancock (356), Hardy (144), Harrison (853), Jackson (505), Jefferson (907), Kanawha (4604), Lewis (192), Lincoln (337), Logan (901), Marion (566), Marshall (747), Mason (234), McDowell (276), Mercer (1024), Mineral (539), Mingo (815), Monongalia (2706), Monroe (289), Morgan (204), Nicholas (248), Ohio (965), Pendleton (83), Pleasants (55), Pocahontas (80), Preston (321), Putnam (1332), Raleigh (1092), Randolph (535), Ritchie (88), Roane (130), Summers (201), Taylor (216), Tucker (74), Tyler (105), Upshur (350), Wayne (778), Webster (44), Wetzel (314), Wirt (65), Wood (1495), Wyoming (495).