Latest News

Marsh: School spread is low

However, more counties inch into orange alert status

Nine more coronavirus deaths were notched over the weekend in West Virginia, with the youngest being 71.

Most of the others were in their 80s and 90s.

The Mountain State is growing grayer by the minute, with a prevailing elderly population especially vulnerable to COVID-19.

And countless others here who aren’t seniors — still aren’t exactly in glowing health.


Heart disease.


Underlying lung ailments from a lifetime of going underground in the coal mines, then lighting a cigarette up top after the shift.

All of the above is why Jim Justice leaned in even more on Monday.

He continued his push for state residents to simply get tested for the virus that has claimed 385 lives here, including the aforementioned nine from the weekend’s grim roll call.

Until a vaccine hits, it’s the only way, the governor said, during a briefing with reporters.

It’s also the only way, he said, to isolate asymptomatic sufferers who might inadvertently turn in “super-spreaders” — as they carry the coronavirus to whole groups of family, co-workers and anyone else in their travels.

“How do we find these people?” the governor asked.

“We test, and we test, and we test more.”

Recent testing in Kanawha County flagged 85 people who turned out positive, Justice said.
None of them knew they were infected, he said, since their symptoms hadn’t yet developed.

There’s also the case of a college president in the state who just tested positive under that same circumstance, Justice said.
The governor didn’t reveal the administrator’s name.

However, Pamela Alderman, who is president Southern West Virginia Community and Technical College in Logan County, has said publicly that she has COVID-19.
She announced her diagnosis to the campus community and local media outlets — after her test came back positive over the weekend.

Alderman was among the “first in line,” she said, when her school launched testing last Thursday.

She immediately went into quarantine and has since developed mild symptoms, she reported.

All the while, the county alert map used by the state Department of Health and Human Services to chart the coronavirus continues, like autumn leaves, to show ever-changing hues.

Mingo County, in the southern coalfields, is now red, the worst designation on the map.

And the mostly contiguous north-central counties of Harrison, Barbour, Doddridge, Upshur and Randolph are all now glowing orange, the second-worst.

One good thing, state COVID czar Dr. Clay Marsh said, is that the virus seems to be ditching school.

Rates of transmissions in public schools currently amount to less than .1% for students and less than .2% for teachers, he said, and seem to be generated by the outlying community and not within buildings.

Doctor’s orders?

“Pay attention,” Marsh said.

As in wearing your mask, washing your hands and keeping a social distance.

Especially, the physician said, if you’re an athlete or a coach.

Don’t look for the state of emergency West Virginia has been under since the early days of the pandemic last spring to be lifted soon, Justice said.

“We’re nowhere close.”
Justice’s debate with Ben Salango, the Democrat who is challenging him for his governor’s seat, is drawing closer, meanwhile.

It’s scheduled for 7 p.m. today in Morgantown.

Tweet @DominionPostWV