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Justice orders limit to gatherings, fairs and Monongalia County bars closed

CHARLESTON — Citing an increase in active coronavirus cases, Gov. Jim Justice announced Monday the state will again limit the size of group gatherings, fairs and festivals will close and bars in Monongalia County will shut down for 10 days to bring the outbreak in that county under control.

Speaking Monday during a briefing at the Capitol, Justice said group gatherings will decrease from 100 to no larger than 25 people. All fairs and festivals scheduled this summer also will have to cancel events.

In Monongalia County, home of Morgantown and West Virginia University, all bars will shut down for 10 days. Monongalia County has one-fourth of all active cases in the state. Active cases in Monongalia County, a number that includes self-quarantined people infected by the virus and hospitalizations, have increased by 64 percent since last week, from 123 active cases July 5 to 340 as of Sunday.

Justice cited the increase in active cases in Monongalia County to college students returning to WVU and Morgantown. In West Virginia, young adults between the ages of 20 and 29 make up 23 percent of all positive cases in the state.

“We have a tremendous amount of students who have come back,” Justice said. “Absolutely it is an issue and problem. If we just say we’re going to study for this for a few more days or even weeks…for every day we miss, many many people who are asymptomatic are going to affect others.”

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