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“We have a looming monster”: West Virginia is the last state without a coronavirus case

Given all these risk factors, the lack of widespread testing has been particularly annoying.

“Of course we have no confirmed cases,” said Sam Petsonk, a lawyer in the southern part of the state. “We have essentially no test skills.”

State officials said the tests were expanding, adding that they shared public frustration.

“What’s truly inspiring is – and I think we’re all frustrated – there’s not really a public supply of testing capabilities that we would all love to have,” said Dr Cathy Slemp, West Public Health Commissioner. Virginia, at the press conference on Friday. “Each of us would like to say,” Let’s get everyone tested with any type of symptom. “

For now, it’s just getting ready.

West Virginia has a higher ratio of beds to the population than most other states, a situation helped by the expansion of Medicaid. And while some hospitals have closed in the region, as in all rural America, there is a large network of smaller hospitals and clinics with critical access, many with 25 or fewer beds. Although their presence in remote areas is perhaps now more valuable than ever, they may soon be forced to provide services that were not designed to provide.

“We may have to expand what we normally care about,” said Dr. Brent Watson, emergency room physician at Roane General Hospital, in a rural county north of Charleston. Dr. Watson said they were planning how to set up the hospital in the event of a local influx, with some isolated areas for those with respiratory problems.

“We are fortunate now that we have had this waiting time to do all this planning,” said Dr. Watson. They acquired additional fans and developed an emergency personnel program. They have enough protective gear for weeks. Even if at some point, he said, it all ends.

And so while Dr. Watson prepares the hospital and Mr. Coyle washes the door handles in his shop and thousands of children across the state sit at home, West Virginia checks the official case number and waits.

“Where we are is simply this: we have a monster hanging over us,” said Justice Justice, the governor, insisting that the state was prepared for the inevitable. “There are times in life when you have to stare at the monster,” he said. “That’s all there is to it.”

Michael Wines reported by Charles Town, W.Va., and Campbell Robertson reported by Pittsburgh.

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