By Derek Tyson, The Welch News Editor
CHARLESTON, WV – Governor Justice held a press conference at 1:00 p.m. today where he ultimately announced the closure of all non-essential businesses in West Virginia.
Out of the 16 positive cases found, Justice announced the first community transmission, affecting a nursing home employee.
“This means that the coronavirus is now inside the State, not just carried by visitors to the area,” said Dr. Clay Marsh.
During the conference, Justice said 49 hospitals are now submitting tests to public and private labs, with 19 communities that are prepared for community-based testing. Currently 115 tests are awaiting results.
Justice also declared a State Day of Prayer on Wednesday, March 25th, 2020.
“If there’s any time, now’s the time that we need to be looking to God above for assistance in any way we possibly can,” said Justice.
Justice also clarified the need for Saturday’s statewide address, saying health officials had felt no need to move to closure of the entire State, but that he should once again urge citizens to take the threat of the virus very seriously.
“At 11:00 a.m. today, my intention was to close all nonessential businesses within the States, and since that time, even more has changed,” said Justice. “Therefore today, I am moving forward with a stay-at-home order that will go into place immediately, shutting down all nonessential businesses. The order will go into effect at 8:00 p.m. tomorrow.”
Justice stressed that this was not martial law.
“It’s not going to be someone locking you in your home, shutting down State borders, bridges or roads,” said Justice. “You can leave your home to perform or receive essential services or if you work at an essential service business. It means you can leave your home to obtain food, medicine and necessary medical care. You can go to work if you provide these services or support them. You can check on family members. You can go to your place of worship. It means you can go outdoors, but minimize it to groups of 10 people and maintain 6 feet in distance. If you are not an essential business, you are ordered to close.”