The deadly coronavirus has now affected all 50 U.S. states, as West Virginia Governor Jim Justice confirmed the first positive case in the state on Tuesday.
The news, which was shared in a televised event from the governor’s office in Charleston, confirmed the first case in the state was discovered in the eastern panhandle, which includes Berkeley, Morgan, and Jefferson Counties.
Gov. Justice mandated that all bars and restaurants suspend dine-in services and announced that casinos will close as well. He also reiterated the importance of social distancing during the pandemic.
“We’re all in this boat together, we all have to do this, the pathway to the prevention of this disease spreading. … None of us have ever gone through a pandemic. Our power to combat this disease is being apart from one another,” Justice said.
“We have to take seriously all the hygiene recommendations, the ability to stay six foot apart from one another, to stay away from crowds, help our elderly, and if you show up at the grocery store and it’s full of people – don’t go in,” Justice added.
Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) released a statement in response to Justice’s announcement and said he supports the decision to close dine-in services in restaurants and bars, and the decision to close casinos. Manchin said:
Today Governor Justice has confirmed the first coronavirus case in our state in the Eastern Panhandle. The safety and well-being of every West Virginian must remain our top priority and we all share the responsibility to prevent further spread of this virus and exercise responsible choices which include social distancing.
Manchin also voiced his support for small businesses and their employees during the pandemic:
I support Governor Justice’s decision to close restaurants, bars, and casinos because we must do everything we can to slow this virus down. We must also support our small businesses and their employees during this difficult time while they make sacrifices for the health of our state and our nation.
In closing, Manchin said he hopes West Virginians will “take this virus seriously and follow CDC guidelines to protect themselves and our communities.”
One day prior to the announcement of the first positive case in West Virginia, Justice said there were 84 COVID-19 tests and 80 negative results with four still pending at that time.