West Virginia Governor’s Reopening Plan Could Start as Early as April 30

April 28, 2020 Updated: April 28, 2020

West Virginia’s reopening plan could start as early as April 30 and will last six weeks after it begins.

The start of the first week of reopening will depend on the statewide cumulative percent of positive CCP virus test results remaining below 3 percent for three straight days. It was 2.49 percent on April 27.

“We’re going to start reopening things if we get three days consecutively under 3 percent,” Gov. Jim Justice said at a press conference on April 27 in Charleston.

Week one will see outpatient health care operations being able to reopen and hospitals being able to resume elective medical procedures. Testing of daycare staff will begin to be required.

Week two will let a number of businesses reopen, with physical distancing measures in place. Hair salons, nail salons, barbershops, and other professional services will be allowed to welcome customers inside but by appointment only. Outdoor dining at restaurants will be allowed. Houses of worship can reopen with limited seating and face coverings.

skateboarder
A skateboarder skates at Fort Neal Park in Parkersburg, West Virginia, on April 15, 2020. (Patrick Smith/Getty Images)

Additional types of businesses, including office buildings, specialty retail stores, gyms, can reopen from weeks three through six.

If the number of positive cases of the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus, a novel coronavirus from China, climbs above the 3 percent threshold, or there’s an unexpected increase of hospitalizations from the virus, or significant outbreaks of community-based transmission occur outside nursing homes, the schedule of reopenings may be slowed, stopped, or reversed, according to the office of the governor.

Justice credited residents following orders he imposed to try to curb the spread of the virus for cases and hospitalizations arriving at levels far below projections.

“You did it. You absolutely amazed the world. You’re sitting right in an area that absolutely we could have had devastation here like you can’t imagine,” the Republican said.

The governor said he’s trying to balance public health priorities but let people start to resume daily life.

coronavirus
Scanning electron microscope image shows the CCP virus (round blue objects), the virus that causes COVID-19, emerging from the surface of cells cultured in the lab. (NIAID-RML)

“I am not going to listen to those that don’t want to do anything—want to sit on a porch and never do anything, because at the end of the day, that will kill us too,” he said.

West Virginia has 1,077 confirmed cases of COVID-19, the disease the CCP virus causes. The state says 481 of those infected have recovered in the five counties with the most patients, or 44.7 percent of cases in those counties.

Most patients recover from the disease, especially those who aren’t elderly or have underlying health conditions.

About 0.06 percent of West Virginia’s population has tested positive, according to the state’s Department of Health and Human Resources.

Thirty-seven West Virginians have died with COVID-19.

Follow Zachary on Twitter: @zackstieber