CHARLESTON, W. a. (WVVA) - Gov. Jim Justice joined State health leaders and officials from his administration at the Capitol Complex in Charleston today for a virtual press briefing to once again update the public on the many measures being taken in the interest of protecting the public from the spread of novel coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).
Gov. Jim Justice issued two executive orders today – one to suspend all elective medical procedures and the other directing private campgrounds to prohibit new out-of-state campers – as West Virginia continues to put protections in place to limit the rate of spread of COVID-19. He also said he will do whatever it takes to keep the Williamson Hospital open in Mingo County.
“As of 11:59 p.m. tonight all elective surgeries are suspended so we can continue to do whatever we can to protect our healthcare providers and conserve medical supplies,” Gov. Justice said.
The order states "that all elective medical procedures are hereby prohibited; provided that patients will still have access to urgent, medically necessary procedures like those needed to preserve the patient's life or long-term health; and provided that this prohibition applies equally to all types of elective medical procedures performed in hospitals, offices, and clinics throughout the state. The term "elective" includes medical procedures that are not immediately medically necessary to preserve the patient's life or long-term health, except that procedures that cannot be postponed without compromising the patient's long term health, procedures that cannot be performed consistent with other law at a later date, or procedures that are religiously mandated shall not be considered "elective" under this Order."
“And we are also shutting down our private campgrounds to those new arrivals from out-of-state," Gov. Justice added. "We are moving in the right direction, we’re doing the right things to limit the exposure of West Virginians to this virus and we can’t afford now to have someone come in from out-of-state and infect our residents.”
“We remain the highest risk state in the nation and while statistics show us that the rate of positive tests for COVID-19 in West Virginia is at 3.8 percent, compared to eight to 10 percent across the rest of the country and 30 to 50 percent in New York, we can’t let our guard down. If we do, our health care centers will be overrun and it will be catastrophic.
“We’ve already lost one too many lives and we should pray we don’t lose another,” Gov. Justice added. “So I’m going to keep doing everything I possibly can to protect all West Virginians.”
Calling the Williamson Hospital, a “critical, precious commodity” to Southern West Virginia, Gov. Justice said negotiations are underway between private entities and he “stands ready” to “help in any way" to keep that facility open.
“We pulled it off in Fairmont and we need to do the same in Williamson, they desperately need that community hospital.”
Stay with WVVA for updates.