CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Gov. Jim Justice on Friday introduced a color-coded COVID-19 measuring system for each county to show whether it’s safe for schools to be open — and for sports to be played.
“There’s no state that we know of that has a rating system that is similar to what we are proposing to do,” said Justice.
The system could be implemented next week.
The state would use a 7-day rolling number based on the number of positive cases. The system would use a percentage determined by the number of cases per 100,000 people. That’s a ratio, not necessarily a reflection, of the actual county population, Justice said.
“Each county in our state will receive a code — green, yellow, orange or red … that will change daily,” the governor said.
Cases from 0 to 7 per 100,000 equals green, 8 to 15 is yellow, 16 to 24 is the orange zone, and if numbers exceed 25, this is red.
“If we go red in any county, that county [school system] will automatically go 100 percent virtual [learning],” Justice said.
School systems will know where they stand at 9 p.m. Saturdays when the system locks into place with a determination for the week.
Justice said that based on present numbers — three counties would be classified as code red — Grant, Logan and Mingo.
School systems have been developing plans for students to return to classes at a target date of Sept. 8. Most school systems have been offering options to families, who must choose between in-person and virtual learning.
The West Virginia Education Association says most teachers are not comfortable with returning to classrooms yet.
Justice has issued an executive order, temporarily prohibiting all visitation in nursing homes, except in cases of compassionate care due to end-of-life or deteriorating health.
“We have got to try, with all in us, to some way calm this down. I know how much it means for your mom, dad, grandma or granddad to be able to see you and for you to see them. But, at the same time, we cannot come in every other day and lose 12 people without trying everything we can to stop it,” Justice said.
West Virginia has confirmed 8,274 total COVID-19 cases and 157 deaths. Justice reported four deaths Friday — three in Logan County and one in Mercer County. The ages ranged from 73 to 97.
The Virginian Review has been serving Covington, Clifton Forge, Alleghany County and Bath County since 1914.