CHARLESTON — During a video press conference, West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice warned residents that the novel coronavirus could prove to be tragic to the state if its residents don't continue to practice safety guidelines.

"You're seeing a situation where there could very well be thousands die. Let's be fair. Let's just think. Think where we could end up 10 days from now. I commend all of you about the hard work that you've already done," Justice said.

During the conference, Justice explained that while The Mountain State has not reached the catastrophic level that the state of New York has butt that the possibility is there. To combat the possibility of reaching the level of devastation of New York, Justice urges employers to allow employees to work from home.

"Please continue every way, shape, form and fashion to let people work from home absolutely without any question..., " Justice said.

While other states and countries are imposing total lockdown and curfews, Justice assured that he would not be closing the state. While he is not imposing a state closure as of yet, Justice insisted that following the steps to prevent the virus, will further prevent a state lockdown.

"We have a 40 percent greater infection rate than what we had every 24 hours we wait. If in fact we can become New York, and we can, many, many, many will die, if I'm not here in front of you tonight. There's still a lot more we can do," Justice said.

Noting that West Virginia. is at a higher state of infection due to the high elderly population, he urged elderly to have younger family members and friends do their grocery shopping for them.

Justice also took time to formally thank all healthcare workers, grocery store workers, transportation workers and all critical service employees.

With so many businesses closing their doors and laying employees off, Justice reassured residents that the government is working hard to assist the public.

"The government, in every way, is stepping up as a nation and stepping up as a state. You'll be made as whole as you could have possibly been made," Justice said.

— Contact Emily D. Coppola at

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