CHARLESTON, WV (WOWK) — Between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m., the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources reported 255 new confirmed cases, and one new fatality, a 79-year-old man from Fayette County. This brings COVID-19 related deaths to 102.
But other aspects of the pandemic are looking up — including state parks and volunteer fire departments, which are getting a big boost.
At his COVID-19 briefing, Gov. Jim Justice announced West Virginia’s positive rate dropped to 1.06% of those tested as of Tuesday. The state’s rate of COVID spread to other people was the highest in the nation last week, but has now dropped to 19th. Many are crediting mandatory mask usage in public.
“We can say that something is making this move. And move in our favor. And absolutely wearing the mask is absolutely making it move,” said Gov. Jim Justice, (R) West Virginia.
“We do know that what you are doing individually and as communities together, is making a big difference,” said Dr. Clay Marsh, West Virginia COVID-19 Czar.
In another development, the governor predicted another round of COVID aid from Congress will be coming. However, no one is certain if the $600 per week supplemental unemployment aid will continue, be reduced or discontinued entirely.
“I’ve got messages on my phone today, from employers that are saying we can’t get our people back to work and we’re ready to reopen. that’s a real problem, because if you can make more on unemployment, you’re probably going to stay on it,” said Sen. Shelley Moore Capito, (R) West Virginia.
There is a glimmer of sunshine however, bookings at state parks facilities are up 227% for June over last year, and despite the 30% discount for state residents – revenue at the parks is up 187%.
“The COVID-19 has hit the state’s 419 volunteer fire departments very hard because they’ve had to cancel most fundraising activity. The governor said today those fire departments will now share in $4.2 million in federal aid,” said Mark Curtis, 13 News Chief Political Reporter.