Coronavirus Updates

COVID-19 Cases spike in West Virginia’s Eastern Panhandle

Local News

CHARLESTON, W. Va. (WOWK) — The number of Coronavirus cases in West Virginia has jumped, and one region is now considered a “Hot Spot” according to Governor Jim Justice. The Eastern Panhandle has seen a sharp increase in cases, with more than 50-people now testing positive. 90 percent of those cases are in Berkeley and Jefferson counties, which see a lot of traffic from the Washington, D.C. area.

“The people there you know, we don’t want the people there to be afraid. We just want them to double-down on being really smart in what they do,” said Gov. Jim Justice, (R) West Virginia.

The reason for the spike is not known, but it’s not confined a single location such as a nursing home, courthouse, or city.

“It is more community transmission, is what we’re starting to learn more, and hear about things. But again we are continuing to learn as this thing evolves,” said Dr. Cathy Slemp, WV Public Health Officer.

Meanwhile as the streets of Charleston and other cities are very empty, the Governor announced 90-thousand West Virginians filed for unemployment in March, compared to 34-hundred in March of last year. The Governor says the system for processing those claims is severely backlogged and the state is hiring additional workers.

“For those that we’re slow getting to, understand that all of your benefits will be paid,” said Gov. Jim Justice, (R) West Virginia.

Meanwhile the National Guard says it delivered additional medical supplies to all 55 counties in the past day, including more to the Eastern Panhandle. It also helped schools deliver more than one-million meals for children, since the crisis began.

“State health officials say they are well-prepared should there be another spike in Covid cases. As of today they’ve obtained an additional 69-ventilators and nearly 800 more acute-care hospital beds, said Mark Curtis, 13 News Chief Political Reporter.

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