CHARLESTON, WV (WOWK) — West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice announced the closure of visitation to nursing homes. The closure beings at midnight, Aug. 13.
“I know that it is absolutely just horrible for us to not be able to have this, and I know this — I know our nursing homes have done an amazing job with how to coordinate visitation, it’s really, really sad,” Justice said.
This comes as 28 of West Virginia’s nursing homes are experiencing COVID-19 outbreaks and the state also recently lost 12 of its elderly citizens to the virus.
Justice says he thinks staff is bringing virus into the locations.
“It spreads like wildfire through the nursing home,” Justice said.
Justice says officials will monitor community spread of the virus so there will not be closures across the state.
Governor Justice says West Virginia’s transmission rate is low, putting it among the top five states with the lowest transmission rates.
“Our numbers are not bad, our nursing home situation is,” he said.
Still, Justice noted if the state is content with losing 153 West Virginians then there is a problem. “That’s all there is to it in my book,” he said.
On the topic of shutting down nursing homes to visitors and how affects spread if the virus is coming from staff going in, Justice deferred to West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources Secretary Bill Crouch.
“It’s a concern,” Crouch said. “Closing nursing homes to visitation is a difficult thing for families. We made that recommendation to the governor by looking at the number of outbreaks we have.”
Also on lockdown, the South Central Regional Jail which currently has 26 active cases and one infected staff member.
Bars in Monongalia County will also remain closed for yet another another seven days as the state talks with bar owners and landowners about how to proceed with a protocol for reopening.
For now, Justice says he wants to go “full-steam ahead” with high school sports and school reopenings.
“We’ve got a lot of kids who are so at risk that without sports we’re going to lose them,” Justice said.