CHARLESTON — Despite an upward trend in COVID-19 cases and infection rates in the state, Gov. Jim Justice again Monday said he is not prepared to institute additional measures to curtail the spread of the virus, including mandating wearing face masks in public settings.
“Nobody wants to get into the situation where you make the wearing of masks mandatory,” Justice said during the state COVID-19 briefing. “We’re going to divide people.”
Justice’s statement comes following a two-week period when new COVID-19 cases in the state increased 28% and as the state’s infection rate, or R-naught, climbed above the threshold of 1.0% on Monday. That means one infected individual will infect at least one other person.
That includes 68 active cases involving congregations at three churches in three counties, and 49 cases in six counties involving residents returning from Myrtle Beach vacations.
“There’s got to be more, but this is enough to cause us a big-time problem in West Virginia,” Justice said. “If you’ve gone to Myrtle Beach, we want you tested.”
Justice also discouraged out-of-state vacations, stating, “If you don’t need to travel out-of-state, why do it?”
Active cases in Cabell County increased by 11 in the past seven days. As of Monday evening there were 25.
Free COVID-19 testing will again be offered in Cabell County from 1-6 p.m. Friday, June 26, and from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, June 27, at the A.D. Lewis Community Center, 1450 A.D. Lewis Ave. in Huntington.
Dr. Clay Marsh, vice president of health sciences at West Virginia University, said West Virginia is mirroring trends in other states as officials authorize more and more businesses and activities to reopen following stay-at-home orders in parts of March and April.
Marsh said 12 states had all-time high numbers of COVID-19 cases over the weekend, while 17 states saw increases in hospitalizations. Meanwhile, West Virginia’s infection rate crossed the 1.0 threshold, he said.
“It should be a good reminder to us we are not immune from the spread of COVID-19,” he said.
Marsh again called on residents to wear face masks and maintain social distancing when in public.
The death toll reached 90 Monday with the death of a 73-year-old man from Mineral County. There were 28 new positive cases reported for a total of 2,571 and 2,895 test results received by the state.
Cases per county (case confirmed by lab test/probable case): Barbour (13/0), Berkeley (415/18), Boone (19/0), Braxton (3/0), Brooke (6/1), Cabell (83/3), Calhoun (2/0), Clay (10/0), Fayette (59/0), Gilmer (10/0), Grant (15/1), Greenbrier (51/0), Hampshire (40/0), Hancock (18/2), Hardy (41/1), Harrison (49/1), Jackson (141/0), Jefferson (211/5), Kanawha (262/8), Lewis (15/0), Lincoln (5/0), Logan (21/0), Marion (53/2), Marshall (38/1), Mason (16/0), McDowell (6/0), Mercer (22/0), Mineral (51/2), Mingo (12/3), Monongalia (144/14), Monroe (8/1), Morgan (19/1), Nicholas (7/0), Ohio (73/0), Pendleton (12/1), Pleasants (4/1), Pocahontas (23/1), Preston (50/13), Putnam (44/1), Raleigh (33/1), Randolph (152/0), Ritchie (3/0), Roane (12/0), Summers (1/0), Taylor (13/1), Tucker (5/0), Tyler (3/0), Upshur (11/1), Wayne (105/1), Wetzel (9/0), Wirt (4/0), Wood (53/4), Wyoming (7/0).
In Ohio, two new positive cases were reported in Lawrence County by the Lawrence County Health Department, bringing the total to 46 with 14 active. Statewide, 729 new positive cases were reported for a total of 45,537 and only four new deaths for a total of 2,704.
In Kentucky, 90 new positive cases were reported for a total of 13,839. No new deaths were reported Monday.