Gov. Jim Justice said Monday additional funding for West Virginia’s fairs and festivals will be coming in the near future.
The state’s nearly 400 fairs and festivals will receive a total of $1.35 million in funding due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Justice said during Monday’s coronavirus press briefing.
“I have enough dollars in our governor’s contingency fund that I’m able to do with — pretty much what I want to do with,” Justice said.
The Legislature allocates money annually for West Virginia’s fairs and festivals; Justice said he will “double up” the amount using the taxpayer-funded governor’s contingency fund.
Justice said fairs and festivals are the “backbones” of our counties, and predicted half of the nearly 400 events would not survive the pandemic without additional funding. He said the governor’s office will work to get the funds out immediately, but could not say for certain when dollars might start flowing out.
Also Monday, Justice said the active number of positive COVID-19 cases is continuing to reach new highs daily. West Virginia had 1,702 active cases as of 10 a.m. Monday.
Justice said West Virginia will likely continue an upward trend in active cases going forward.
“It’s a record for West Virginia today. It continues to climb. It will continue to be a record, until absolutely we really get this thing trending the other way,” Justice said.
Kanawha County is home to the most active cases as of Monday, with 266 confirmed positive COVID-19 cases.
Monongalia County is now trending downward in active cases after spiking at 394 earlier in the month, which Justice said was “absolutely, significantly bar driven.” Justice ordered bars in the county closed on July 13 for 10 days, then extended the order an additional 10 days last Thursday.
The county had 177 active cases as of Monday, Justice said.
Three West Virginians died over the weekend due to COVID-19, Justice said, who he described as a 60-year-old woman from Wyoming County, an 84-year-old woman from Mineral County and a 93-year-old woman from Brooke County.
Lastly, a nursing home in Mercer County reported 20 new COVID-19 cases over the weekend, Justice said. The National Guard will be assisting the Princeton Health Care Center with mass testing; the center has reported 30 positive cases total since the beginning of the pandemic.