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Gov. Justice: If COVID trends continue, things might have to shut down

“We’ve got to get afraid again. We have gotten complacent."
The governor said if things don’t improve, the state will move to put more restrictions in place in areas experiencing heightened or substantial community transmission of the virus.
The governor said if things don’t improve, the state will move to put more restrictions in place in areas experiencing heightened or substantial community transmission of the virus.(STEVEN ROTSCH | Office of the Governor)
Published: Sep. 13, 2020 at 4:27 PM EDT
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CHARLESTON, W.Va (WDTV) - West Virginia continues to set new daily active COVID-19 case records as it leads the nation in transmission rates of the virus.

Governor Jim Justice on Friday sounded the alarm about the trending case numbers.

“We’ve got to get afraid again,” Justice said. “We have gotten complacent. Really and truly we just know the numbers are getting worse and getting worse.”

West Virginia’s Rt value, the figure that shows how many people become infected by COVID-19 by another person with the virus, sat at 1.34 on Sunday.

That’s the highest in the nation. The rate has climbed steadily since late July.

The governor said if things don’t improve, the state will move to put more restrictions in place in areas experiencing heightened or substantial community transmission of the virus.

“Our numbers are trending the wrong way,” Justice said. “We’ve got to take further action. If they continue, we will have to take even additional action. And that additional action will have to be starting to shut things down. It can’t happen any other way.”

The state has recorded nearly 2,500 new cases of COVID-19 in September alone. It took roughly three months for the state to report its first 2,500 cases when the pandemic began.

Active cases stood at just over 2,000 when August ended; the figure is now more than 3,100.

The increased community transmission has eight counties conducting school virtually entering the week, according to the state’s color-coded county alert map.

Monongalia County is the only red county on the map. Meanwhile, Staff may report to their schools, as determined by the county. Essential support services, including special education and meals, will continue. Counties in orange include Boone, Fayette, Kanawha, Logan, Mingo, Monroe and Putnam are orange.

23 of the state’s 55 counties were green as of Saturday night.

Despite his warning about the possibility of new restrictions, the governor expressed hesitation to immediately shut down parts of the state.

“Does anybody in their right mind think that I don’t want our kids in school? That’s crazy,” Justice said. “Does anybody think I want to go back and start shutting stuff down like our businesses our hair salons or restaurants? There’s no way. I don’t want any part of that because it’s going to hurt us in lots of ways. We don’t have to do that yet.”

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