West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice has appointed the state’s top official overseeing the response to the spread of coronavirus COVID-19.
In his daily media briefing Thursday, Justice appointed West Virginia University Vice President and Executive Dean of Health Sciences Dr. Clay B. Marsh as the state’s “coronavirus czar.” Marsh has been by Justice’s side throughout much of the response to the spread of COVID-19, and he has been given “on loan” from WVU to the state. Marsh will be the point person for the COVID-19 response.
“It gives us one more layer of expertise …” Justice said.
Justice said during his briefing that West Virginia now has 51 positive cases of COVID-19. Among those are 20 patients from a nursing home in Morgantown who have tested positive for coronavirus and eight staff members who have also test positive. Justice said the situation at the Morgantown nursing home is, “The horror story that we absolutely didn’t want to have happen.”
Justice repeated his call for West Virginia residents to stay home and he urged employers to allow employees to work from home as much as possible.
Justice also said he plans to protect West Virginians from possible exposure to coronavirus by way of people from other states who may travel to West Virginia to escape areas with a high occurrence of infection. He said those people may look at West Virginia as a “safe haven, a place to come to to weather the storm.” He said anyone from areas such as New York who travels to West Virginia to escape the escalating crisis in that state should self-quarantine for 14 days.
Justice said he does not know how he would enforce that directive.