|During Monday’s emergency meeting, Gov. Justice and state health experts also concluded that counties should be evaluated on two metrics when their color designation is being determined.
Up until now, each county’s color was based solely on that county’s infection rate; the number of people per 100,000 that had tested positive for the virus.
“Now what does that do? We are having people who make decisions saying, ‘We don’t want to test, because the more we test, the more we hurt ourselves,’” Gov. Justice said. “That path gives us bad medical information and it doesn’t help protect you,” Gov. Justice continued. “We want to encourage people to go get tested so we have more information and so we know where this virus is located.”
As a result, the Governor announced that, in addition to infection rate, counties will also be evaluated on their positivity rate, with factors negative tests into the equation.
Going forward, during each official Saturday map update, counties will be judged on both their infection rate and their positivity rate. The county’s more favorable metric will be used to determine their color designation for the following week.
The updated thresholds are as follows:
GREEN: 3 and fewer cases per 100,000 OR 3% or less positivity rate
YELLOW: 3.1 – 9.9 cases per 100,000 OR 4% or less positivity rate
GOLD: 10 – 14.9 cases per 100,000 OR 5% or less positivity rate
ORANGE: 15 – 24.9 cases per 100,000
RED: 25+ cases per 100,000
In the gold category, counties will be able to move to an in-person instructional model with restrictions including face coverings at all times for grades 3-12. Extracurricular activities are permitted and competitions may occur against schools within the same county as well as schools in other gold counties. Additionally, modifications to spectator requirements at extracurricular activities have been made.
Updated protocols for education, athletic, and extracurricular activities on the new color scale are outlined on the Department of Education’s website.