MORGANTOWN — Gov. Jim Justice announced a new round of sports-related reopenings during his Friday press briefing.
Low contact summer youth sports – such as Little League and soccer – will be allowed to begin practice on June 8. On the same date, WVSSAC-sanctioned sports and band training can begin. And adult indoor sports facilities – tennis, racquetball – along with outdoor basketball courts may reopen.
On June 22, various spectator sports may resume their games: youth sports (soccer, baseball, softball), other outdoor sports and outdoor equestrian events.
Justice expressed his displeasure that a recent Jackson County livestock show drew 700 people into a confined space and at least two positive COVID-19 cases resulted. “We can’t watch you in everything you do. You’ve got to really be smart. … Absolutely we cannot jam everybody into a shelter like we did in Jackson County. An d I know it’s happened in other places.”
People need to maintain social distancing or The Comeback will backfire, he said.
Justice updated the positive COVID-19 county to 116 positives at Huttonsville Correctional Center. As a result of the outbreak there, the Department of Health and Human Resources will be offering free testing in Randolph County on Saturday, in Elkins and Mill Creek, from 10 a.m.-4 p.m.
Justice and his COVID-19 team are hoping for a good turnout in order to determine if the prison outbreak has led to any community spread. “The more information we have the better work we’ll do.” he said.
Adjutant General James Hoyer said the National Guard has been offering support at dometic violence shelters, and that will continue next week. The Guard has been providing food, supplies, PPE and PPE training,
Since the pandemic began, he said, some shelters have seen a 30% to 40% increase in people seeking support.
Hoyer said that during the next several days, the 109 Mountaineer ChalleNGe Academy cadets will be returning to Camp Dawson – in small groups with the required precautions – to test for their high school diploma option.
He said he expects all 109 to graduate – historically 84% do – but those who don’t meet the high school graduation requirements will be allowed to go into the Jobs ChalleNGe program and meet their high school requirements that way. The Guard will seek a waiver from the National Guard Bureau for them to do that.
Hoyer said that all but two of the current class of cadets continued the program virtually during the pandemic.
COVID-19 Czar talked again about masks. He said the World Health Organization recommends masks only for those who care of someone sick with COVID-19 or are COVID-19 positive and trying not to spread the virus. WHO belives masks can cause a false sense of security.
But the CDC is evolving in the opposite direction, he said, and now thinks masks are the most important new component in preventing spread.
He again cited the examples of Hong Kong, Japan and Sweden. Hong Kong, a mask wearing culture, has 7 million people but only 4 COVID-19 deaths. Japan, also mask-wearing, has 127 million people but only 884 deaths. Sweden avoided masks and just counted on people to social distance. It has 10 million people but has seen 4,350 deaths.
Justice fielded a question about a possible special session to handle a possible budget shortfall. He doesn’t see a need yet, he said.
“Unless I am really surprised we’re not going to have to call a special session,” he said. “I think we’re rock solid to the end of the [fiscal] year as far as cash.” And they’re working to extract every federal dollar under the current CARES Act rules while they wait for the rules to get updated.
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