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Gov. Justice announces changes to color-coding system for reopening schools

Adjustments were made Monday to the color-coding system released Friday that officials say will...
Adjustments were made Monday to the color-coding system released Friday that officials say will determine whether individual West Virginia counties are allowed to reopen school to in-person instruction come Sept. 8.(Gov. Jim Justice youtube)
Published: Aug. 17, 2020 at 2:10 PM EDT
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CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) - Adjustments were made Monday to the color-coding system released Friday that officials say will determine whether individual counties are allowed to reopen school to in-person instruction come Sept. 8.

West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice says the metric was ‘tweaked’ to ‘make it better.’

Gov. Justice announced the following changes to the metric Monday afternoon:

  • 0-3 cases per 100,000 people: Green
  • 3-9 cases per 100,000 people: Yellow
  • 10-24 cases per 100,000 people: Orange
  • 25+ cases per 100,000 people: Red

As of Monday, Logan is the only county in the state in the red on the metric.

Lincoln, Mingo, Boone and Taylor counties are in the orange.

Adjustments were made Monday to the color-coding system released Friday that officials say will...
Adjustments were made Monday to the color-coding system released Friday that officials say will determine whether individual counties are allowed to reopen school to in-person instruction come September 8.(WV DHHR)

On Friday, Justice said any county listed as red or orange on Sept. 8 will begin the school year virtually until the county moves back to yellow or green on the metric.

Another change to the system is the way staff at nursing and prison facilities will be counted. Justice says staff will now be counted “one for one,” meaning, any COVID cases among staff at the facilities will be counted as individual cases when it comes to the metric system. According to officials, the change is due to the staff’s interaction with communities and their families once they leave the facility.

However, outbreaks at nursing homes and prisons will continue to be counted as just one, Justice said.

“So, if in a nursing home we have 18 breakouts within the residence of the nursing home, they are counted as one. “If in a prison we have 42 prisoner inmates that have this they are counted as one,” Justice said.

The governor said Friday that the metric was developed by WVDHHR and will be measured on a seven-day rolling average of the number of new daily cases that are population adjusted per 100,000 people.

The metric was developed after the Harvard Global Health Institute model. However, West Virginia coronavirus czar Dr. Clay Marsh said the Harvard model focuses on both congregational and community spread. State officials said they tweaked the West Virginia version of the model so it would focus on just community spread.

“We want to make it more challenging for the counties to maintain the community health metrics because, it’s keeping the communities healthy (and) that will keep the schools healthy,” Marsh said.

For our previous story on the color-coding system click here.

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