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West Virginia gov extends order closing bars in 1 county

July 23, 2020 GMT
FILE - In this Jan. 8, 2020, file photo, West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice delivers his annual State of the State address in the House Chambers at the state capitol in Charleston, W.Va. The former West Virginia public health leader forced out by the governor says decades-old computer systems and cuts to staff over a period of years had made a challenging job even harder during a once-in-a-century pandemic. Republican Gov. Jim Justice demanded Dr. Cathy Slemp’s resignation on June 24. (AP Photo/Chris Jackson, File)
FILE - In this Jan. 8, 2020, file photo, West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice delivers his annual State of the State address in the House Chambers at the state capitol in Charleston, W.Va. The former West Virginia public health leader forced out by the governor says decades-old computer systems and cuts to staff over a period of years had made a challenging job even harder during a once-in-a-century pandemic. Republican Gov. Jim Justice demanded Dr. Cathy Slemp’s resignation on June 24. (AP Photo/Chris Jackson, File)

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) — West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice on Thursday extended an order that closed all bars in Monongalia County for an additional 10 days due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The latest order is effective until Aug. 3. The county includes West Virginia University’s Morgantown campus. Students will start moving back into campus residence halls starting Aug. 8 for the fall semester.

Monongalia County has reported at least 791 confirmed virus cases, by far the most in the state, according to state health officials. The number of active positive cases totals 289.

“Monongalia County remains a hotspot and going to a bar is among the riskiest things that we can do at a time where we’re trying to contain this terrible virus,” Gov. Justice said.

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The order does allow customers to purchase take-out food and drinks from Monongalia County bars. It also allows dining in bar areas of restaurants, hotels and other similar facilities.

The governor on July 6 issued an executive order mandating face coverings when people are inside buildings, although he has declined to impose a penalty for noncompliance.

There have been more than 5,500 total confirmed virus cases and at least 103 deaths in West Virginia.

For most people, the coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms that clear up within weeks. But for others, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, the virus can cause severe symptoms and be fatal. The vast majority of people recover.

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Follow AP’s pandemic coverage at https://apnews.com/VirusOutbreak and https://apnews.com/UnderstandingtheOutbreak.