CHARLESTON — The first positive case of the coronavirus (COVID-19) has surfaced in West Virginia, in the Eastern Panhandle.

Gov. Jim Justice confirmed that in a press conference just held. West Virginia had been the only state left without a confirmed case.

As a result, all restaurants, bars and casinos are being closed.

Carryout is okay in the restaurants and bars, but no inside customers.

“We knew it was coming, but we were prepared,” he said. “We should be concerned, but we should not panic … and live our lives the best we can. We should not be fearful.”

The closings are part of a plan that has been developed by those around him feeding him information, he said, and it’s a way to avoid people gathering and possibly transmitting the “terrible disease.”

Justice said he is offering a “pathway” to prevent the disease from spreading.

The way to combat it, he said, is “being apart from one another.”

That means avoiding crowds and staying six feet apart.

Justice said he knows this will create “all kinds of inconveniences” and create an economic component as well.

“Our nation … and our state is going to have to step up and keep you whole the best we can,” he said of helping employees who may lose their jobs temporarily and businesses that lose revenue.

But the health concern is “where I feel the most pain,” he said, especially for the elderly who are the most vulnerable.

“The last days and weeks have been tough,” he said. “This is serious, serious problem.”

But he said Mountaineers are strong, and can endure.

Contact Charles Boothe at

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