CHARLESTON — All staff at West Virginia assisted-living facilities and child-care facilities will be tested for COVID-19 per Gov. Jim Justice’s order.
Justice signed an executive order Wednesday after four child-care workers in Kanawha County tested positive but had no symptoms.
“Our hope is in every way we can get our day-care centers up and running,” Justice said. “We need them. But we cannot risk anything with our children or them getting anything they could bring home.”
One of the child-care providers who tested positive works at the West Virginia National Guard Child Development Center, said Gen. James Hoyer. Hoyer said all staff have been wearing proper personal protective equipment, so risk of transmission is low. The center will be sanitized.
Testing of child-care workers will be done on a rolling basis, said state health officer Dr. Cathy Slemp. The more than 600 child-care centers that have continued to provide care to children of essential workers will receive first priority.
Dr. Clay Marsh, state coronavirus czar, said the asymptomatic positives highlight the importance of everyone wearing face coverings or masks. He said 45% of people will be asymptomatic.
Marsh also said the transmission rate, or “R naught,” of the novel coronavirus has increased over the past week, reaching 0.90 Wednesday. He said it will continue to be a data point they watch as reopening businesses continues.
“With the governor’s focus on health and well-being, there may be times we need to stop, go backward or leave the dance floor for a little bit,” Marsh said.
The doctor said he didn’t think reopening was the cause, but more a public perception that things are getting better. But the virus is still out there, the state’s population is still highly vulnerable and a large portion of the population has not yet been exposed to the virus, so precautions must still be taken, he said, including physical distancing.