Citing the significance of a nursing home resident representing West Virginia's first confirmed case of COVID-19 and which was confirmed as being the direct result of in-community contact, on Monday during his update Gov. Jim Justice issued a stay-at-home order and the closure of all non-essential businesses in the state.
Justice said the Executive Order becomes effective at 8 p.m. Tuesday.
"This is a different situation in that we've had many people from across state borders come in and out and we had a way of identifying...we were basically exposed by out-of-state people," he said. "This is the first case we've had of community transmission, so this is really significant."
Justice said the order came after further consultations with health officials prior to today's update, which indicated an even direr situation than existed just hours before.
"Today, I am moving forward right now with a stay home order that will go into effect immediately," he said. "This order also temporarily shuts down all non-essential businesses."
Those non-essential businesses to close or have limited occupancy/services include casinos, restaurants, bars, fitness centers, gymnasiums, recreation centers, barber shops, nail salons, state park lodges, and the Hatfield McCoy Trail System.
Justice said the stay home order "is not martial law" which otherwise would close bridges and roads to border states and effectively shut down the state.
He said people can still leave their homes to perform or receive essential services, such as get food and/or medicine, or to get necessary medical care.
People can also still go to grocery and convenience stores, go to restaurants for take-out, delivery, or drive-thru services, care for or support a family member or friend, help someone get supplies, or take pets to the veterinarian if necessary. Additionally, those who work at an essential service business are also exempt from the order, he said.
"You can go to work if you provide or support these services," he said. "You can go check on family members. You can go to your place of worship. It means you can do outdoor activity but highly recommends that we minimize that to below 10 people and limit that [interaction] to a six-foot space."
The governor also said that state officials were taking a daily inventory of available hospital beds and that more testing for the virus is being performed throughout the state.
"We now have 49 hospitals that are now submitting tests to our public and private labs, and we have 19 communities that are ready to do community-based testing," he said. "And we now have at least 1,500 people that have had tests done and we're waiting on those results."