Gov. Jim Justice again urged West Virginians to be cautious about the coronavirus as numbers continue to escalate just prior to traditional Thanksgiving gatherings.
Justice said he does not want to order more shutdowns, as he did in the spring. But he suggested his administration may consider targeted efforts in counties with heightened virus numbers.
That could mean “that we take a pinpoint selection, a specific county, and we may have to look at specific modifications in a specific county to try to slow this thing down.”
Justice announced 28 covid-related deaths since is most recent briefing on Friday.
“It ought to get every single one of our attention,” he said, “because we all know what’s going on across our nation.”
“So please remember all these people in your prayers, your thoughts, especially over this Thanksgiving period we’re about to enter into.”
That’s a total of 667 covid-related deaths in West Virginia.
West Virginia on Monday reported 636 new coronavirus cases in the prior 25 hours, with a positivity rate of 4 percent. Justice described that as “a little, teeny bit better.”
But the state recorded a record high of 463 covid patients in the hospital and another high of 136 in intensive care units.
Similar spikes are happening across the country.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention last week advised against traveling for Thanksgiving gatherings.
“We tell you over and over, as far as Thanksgiving, we want you to be with your families for sure,” Justice said. But, “it would be much, much better if you were with the family members that you’re with all the time and maybe look at postponing some travel.”
Justice urged West Virginians to get a coronavirus test prior to Thanksgiving, no matter their plans.
There are five counties displayed as red on West Virginia’s DHHR map, the highest designation of virus levels. Those are Marshall, Brooke, Mineral, Berkeley and Wirt counties. There were 18 counties shown as orange, just a level down.
“The infection rate going up is not only limited to the red counties,” said Clay Marsh, West Virginia’s coronavirus response coordinator.
“What that tells us is that despite all the testing and despite all the contact tracing that in some areas covid is spreading fast enough that perhaps some focused and precise strategies will need to be done so we can start to reduce the spread of the disease.”