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West Virginia has its first confirmed case of the novel coronavirus ( COVID-19) in its Eastern Panhandle, Gov. Jim Justice announced on Tuesday.
“We knew it was coming. We’ve prepared for this and we shouldn’t panic,” Justice, 68, said in a statewide address broadcasted on YouTube and across social media. “We should cautious. We should be concerned, but not panicked.”
In his address, the governor said that West Virginia will be closing its restaurants, bars and casinos to avoid the spread of the disease. Establishments offering takeout will remain open, according to Justice.
“None of us have ever gone through a pandemic, but this is real,” he said. “We have to take seriously all the hygiene recommendations. We have to take serious the ability to stay six foot apart from one another. We have to take seriously to stay away from our crowds.”
On Tuesday, Senators Joe Manchin and Shelley Moore Capito announced $5.56 million from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to be put toward the coronavirus response across West Virginia.
“Our state and local public health professionals are vital to addressing and preparing for this coronavirus outbreak. This funding will support West Virginia’s public health organizations so they can be better prepared to manage and address the COVID-19 virus,” Manchin, 72, said in a statement. “We have one of the most vulnerable populations in the nation and we must prepare our health providers for the inevitable cases in West Virginia. Our state and nation must come together during this time to protect and take care of one another.”
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“During the outbreak of COVID-19, the Senate has acted swiftly to appropriate supplemental funding to states and local public health partners. The $5.5 million allocated to West Virginia is crucial in our efforts to protect our citizens during this outbreak and supply the resources our state health providers need,” Capito, 66, said. “As this continues to evolve, I have remained in constant contact with state officials and will continue to do so, as well as continue to deliver the federal resources our state needs to best stay healthy during this uncertain time. West Virginians must have access to proper medical care and testing, and this money from the supplemental funding package will help expand both.”
West Virginia is the last state in the nation to report a confirmed case of coronavirus. As of March 17, all 50 U.S. states have at least one confirmed case of COVID-19 within its borders.
There have been at least 5,587 confirmed cases of coronavirus in the U.S. and 101 deaths as of Tuesday evening, according to The New York Times.
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