Gov. Jim Justice

CHARLESTON — Gov. Jim Justice signed an executive order recently to test all residents and staff at assisted living facilities in the state as well as all day care center workers.

Assisted living facilities have been a priority after the nursing home statewide testing project wrapped up last week, with every resident and staff member tested for coronavirus.

But Justice said mandatory testing of all staff at day care centers, which are reopening to take care of children as their parents return to work, is now needed.

“We have had four positives on staff that have just come in from Kanawha County,” he said, adding that none of them had any symptoms. “You don’t have to have symptoms for it to be contagious.”

Justice said that is why the executive order makes it mandatory that all day care staff in the state be tested.

“We absolutely cannot risk anything with our children … or for them to take it home,” he said. “Hopefully, we will move forward testing our day care centers first and foremost.”

As the state opens back up, with the businesses and entities that can reopen on May 18 to be announced on May 11, Justice said everyone must continue to be vigilant and follow the guidelines.

“I don’t want to report to you that we have slipped back and got a catastrophe on our hands,” he said, referring to deadly outbreak. “The days ahead are not quiet seas and clear sailing.”

Justice said everyone has to stay on top of the situation and “be protective of the old …This nasty killer is with us right this second.”

Regardless, though, the state’s economic engine must keep turning.

“We can’t sit on the porch,” he said. “We’ve got to restart.”

Justice said safety has to be considered as well as risk.

“We have managed that risk in West Virginia .. in an unbelievable way,” he said, and because of that businesses can start to reopen or the economy could “slip into a depression.”

He said residents must continue to be “smart” and manage the risk.

“If we don’t manage the risk, bad things will happen,” he said. Justice also said the numbers as far as containing the virus remain strong, with the percentage of positive tests to the total tested at 2.24 percent, one of the lowest in the nation.

The state also continues to see more people who have recovered from the virus than the number of new cases.

Justice said this shows again that residents are going a “great job” following guidelines.

— Contact Charles Boothe at cboothe@bdtonline.com

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