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Hardy County returns to orange after COVID-19 case reporting error

Published: Mar. 23, 2021 at 8:40 PM EDT
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HARDY COUNTY, W.Va. (WHSV) - On March 16, WHSV reported that Hardy County went into the red on the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources Coronavirus County Alert System Map.

According to the West Virginia Department of Education’s website, “High schools will attend school in-person unless their county is red on the DHHR County Alert System Map. In-person instruction may consist of blended learning models for students in grades 9-12.”

Community leaders said this had an effect on much more than just in-person versus virtual learning.

“We have high school students who are being kept out of school and not getting hot meals, who are missing out on athletics, social, emotional, the adults in their lives they are getting academic support from. It is huge.” Hardy County Schools Superintendent Sheena VanMeter explained.

Athletic activities are also impacted.

“A group of girls who were supposed to participate in the West Virginia State Wrestling Tournament on Saturday,” VanMeter said. “We knew that we had girls that were attending that were looking to get scholarships for an all-female wrestling team, if they did not participate they were not going to be seen by these college scouts.”

VanMeter said she initially set out to find a way for the students to participate in the tournament but realized that there had been an error in reporting the test that came back negative for the virus. Those numbers affect the positivity rate of the county which in turn determines whether they would be in red or orange.

DHHR confirmed via email that a Hardy County medical practice was not submitting negative COVID lab results.

“The West Virginia Health Information Network manually entered 204 labs with negative results for that facility. With the additional negative labs added to Hardy County’s 14-day percent positivity, it was enough to drop their percent positivity map color from red to orange,” the statement read.

“It’s not just an error in calculation, It’s detrimental,” VanMeter said.

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