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W.Va. leaders worried about increased COVID-19 transmission among young people

Published: Mar. 24, 2021 at 2:21 PM EDT
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CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WTAP) - Gov. Jim Justice announces West Virginia high schools will now be open for full-time, in-person education.

That, as state health officials are growing concerned about the spread of COVID-19 among people, ages 16 to 29.

At Wednesday’s hearing they said, while the elderly remain the most vulnerable for contracting the virus, there will be an increased emphasis on vaccinations for younger people.

The increased transmission is partly due to more evidence of variants, now present in nine West Virginia counties.

But they add young people taking part in sports is also a factor.

”We really want to focus on this younger part of our population,” said state coronavirus expert Dr. Clay Marsh, “with the same discipline we’ve done, and will do, with the older part of our population. We start to focus on our high schoolers, 16-18, with the Pfizer vaccine, and particularly those on sports teams, because we’re starting to see spread in the schools.”

At the same time, Justice announced the color-coded map, primarily used to determine whether schools should be open, is being retired.

It was first introduced last summer, and received both praise and criticism for its methodology.

The governor also ordered live music events can resume immediately, while summer camps will be allowed to open May first.

Both are expected to take place under state guidelines for mask wearing, social distancing and regular hygiene such as hand washing.

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