Coronavirus Updates

Justice says talk of ‘Phase 2’ for COVID-19 response underway

West Virginia

CHARLESTON, WV (WOWK) – West Virginia Governor Jim Justice says he’s as eager as everyone else to get West Virginia back up and running, but he won’t do it at the expense of West Virginians.

“My job is to protect you and until we get into a situation that I feel like we are safe, I am going to do my job,” explained Gov. Justice.

In his now-daily COVID-19 briefing, the governor touched on how the state will transition into “Phase 2” of the pandemic. Justice announced that he has begun to have discussions with medical experts and other officials about the transition. While discussions are ongoing, the Governor did say that a main tenant of this so-called “Phase 2” would be to fine-tune the testing process for COVID-19.

“Currently what we are looking for is to try to create a system of surveillance that allows us to start to understand higher risk areas,” Marsh says.

The National Guard has secured a significant number of test swabs. Those swabs might allow the state to implement new ways of testing, including tests which may reveal if people are immune to the virus.

“As we come back out again, we have to be more like a scalpel and less like a hammer,” said COVID-19 Czar Dr. Clay Marsh.

As for schooling, the Governor said he absolutely would not put students and teachers at risk, just for the sake of heading back to school. But he is not ruling out “hope” that students will be able to return to their schools before the end of the year.

There are also plans to ramp up the process of reporting new positive cases within the state. Right now, information is taken from both the county health departments and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention before it is reported, which has led to wide-spread confusion over just how many cases there are and where they are located. The new updates should make the data easier to understand and more timely.

According to the Governor, more than 5,000 lanes, totaling more than $1 billion have been approved for small businesses in West Virginia. When it comes to Workforce West Virginia, the state should have all unemployment claims processed by the end of next week.

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