West Virginia Only State In U.S. Without Any Confirmed Cases of Coronavirus

West Virginia was the only U.S. state left that had not yet reported any confirmed cases of COVID-19 coronavirus as of Friday night.

Cases have continued to quickly multiply in recent days and weeks, with 49 states reporting at least one case. Alabama, Idaho and Montana were the latest to report their first infections on Friday.

A reported 31 patients have been tested for COVID-19 in West Virginia, with 26 results coming back negative and 5 results still pending. Although no cases have been reported, West Virginia Governor Jim Justice announced Friday that schools would be closing indefinitely in an effort to prevent the virus.

"This was a very difficult decision but I know in my heart that closing our schools in an effort to protect our kids, our teachers, and all those they come in contact with is the right thing to do," Justice said in a statement. "Rest assured, we will get our kids back in school as fast as it is safe for everyone."

The first U.S. COVID-19 case occurred in Washington state on January 21. The situation escalated in late February when the first death was reported, before infections quickly began to multiply.

At least 769 new cases were added Friday, for a total of 2,466 including 50 deaths and 41 recoveries. Some experts believe the true number of cases could be far higher due to the scarce availability of testing in the country.

Coronavirus Test
West Virginia was the only U.S. state left without any confirmed cases of COVID-19 coronavirus as of March 13, 2020. Getty

President Donald Trump declared a national state of emergency during a Friday press conference, saying that the move would help free up federal funds that could help contain the spread of the disease.

"I am officially declaring a national emergency—two very big words," Trump said. "The action I am taking will open up access to up to $50 billion of... very important, a large amount of money for states and territories or localities in our shared fight against this disease."

After many hours of negotiation, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi came to an agreement with Trump over a bill intended to help ease financial burdens by offering workers paid sick leave, boosting unemployment benefits, providing nutritional aid and guaranteeing free COVID-19 tests.

The World Health Organization officially declared the COVID-19 crisis a pandemic on Wednesday, and infections have continued to mount in every continent except Antarctica since then. At the time of writing, the global total stood at 145,810 including 5,436 deaths and 72,531 recoveries.

The virus appears to have largely stalled in China, where it was first detected in late December. However, cases have been skyrocketing in Europe, with Italy reporting at least 2,547 new cases on Friday, for a total of 17,660 including 1,266 deaths and 3,529 recoveries. A 30-day ban on travel from Europe to the U.S. went into effect on Friday at midnight.

World Health Organization advice for avoiding spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19)

Hygiene advice

  • Clean hands frequently with soap and water, or alcohol-based hand rub.
  • Wash hands after coughing or sneezing; when caring for the sick; before; during and after food preparation; before eating; after using the toilet; when hands are visibly dirty; and after handling animals or waste.
  • Maintain at least 1 meter (3 feet) distance from anyone who is coughing or sneezing.
  • Avoid touching your hands, nose and mouth. Do not spit in public.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or bent elbow when coughing or sneezing. Discard the tissue immediately and clean your hands.

Medical advice

  • If you feel unwell (fever, cough, difficulty breathing) seek medical care early and call local health authorities in advance.
  • Stay up to date on COVID-19 developments issued by health authorities and follow their guidance.

Mask usage

  • Healthy individuals only need to wear a mask if taking care of a sick person.
  • Wear a mask if you are coughing or sneezing.
  • Masks are effective when used in combination with frequent hand cleaning.
  • Do not touch the mask while wearing it. Clean hands if you touch the mask.
  • Learn how to properly put on, remove and dispose of masks. Clean hands after disposing of mask.
  • Do not reuse single-use masks.