W.Va. Tops Nation In COVID Spread, Cases Reported From Schools

West Virginia Governor Jim Justice during a COVID-19 update on July 24, 2020. Photo: Gov. Jim Justice/Flickr

Nearly six months into the ongoing pandemic, West Virginia continues to see a surge in coronavirus cases. The rise in cases comes as K-12 schools reopen. 

West Virginia currently has the  highest rate of spread of the virus in the entire nation with an R-t value of 1.28

In a Tuesday virtual news conference, Gov. Jim Justice said the state is dealing with outbreaks at 34 long term care facilities and five churches.

State officials say at least 11 schools across the state are reporting cases of the virus, the same day school systems opened for their fall start. 

The West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources reports 1,176 new cases in the past week — an increase of more than 25 percent from the number of new cases reported in the previous week for the state. 

Justice said Tuesday the state’s daily positivity rate stood at 6.02 percent, which he described as “very high.”  If the state’s 7-day average of a daily positivity rate exceeds 5 percent, education officials say school protocols will change.

Although most county school systems reopened this week, nine counties had case rates high enough to force them to open the year in a virtual setting. 

The governor said two schools in Brooke County have each reported a case of the coronavirus. He also says staff from schools in Kanawha, Lincoln and Mingo have tested positive for the virus.

This article was originally published by West Virginia Public Broadcasting.

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