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Governor Justice: "Stop the politics" on COVID-19

Gov. Justice said Wednesday tanning businesses can resume operations on May 21.
Gov. Justice said Wednesday tanning businesses can resume operations on May 21.(WHSV)
Published: May. 15, 2020 at 5:21 PM EDT
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During the past month, West Virginia Governor Jim Justice has stated he is looking for guidance as to whether he can use part of $1.2 billion federal dollars to cover a state budget defecit.

In a statement earlier this week, Senator Joe Manchin said the government already has stated what the money can be used for.

Manchin and others have said at least part of those federal dollars should be given to city and county governments, who are also taking a financial hit from the pandemic.

Twice this week, including Friday, Justice accused people commenting on the matter of playing politics with the situation.

"I wish some way, some how, that we could leave this politics stuff aside and deal with the fact that we're dealing with a pandemic that is the most, the biggest event that any of us have ever dealt with or will deal with in our lives," Justice said during his daily briefing Friday. "So West Virginians, stay together. Please don't listen to the noise."

Testing for the virus has been stepped up in recent weeks, target at four counties, minorities and day care centers.

But with more cases reported among inmates at federal prisons, the cabinet secretary for the state Department of Health and Human Resources was asked Friday whether testing at correctional centers should be increased.

"We're getting close to 4% (testing) for the state, which is terrific in comparison to other states," Secretary Bill Crouch said. "It still doesn't give us a prevalence number in terms of what this disease is throughout West Virginia. Should we test more? Absolutely. Are we trying to test more? Absolutely."

Workforce West Virginia Director Scott Adkins says the latest unemployment numbers for the state are to be released next week.

He expects those numbers to be double those of a month ago.