Gov. Justice: “West Virginia Model” continues to set national standard

CHARLESTON, WV (WOAY)- During Friday’s briefing, Gov. Justice reported that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently adopted their own color-coded system to assist states in determining whether children should be in-school or they should be utilizing a remote learning model of instruction.

“Their color-coding system looks tremendously close to our system,” said Gov. Justice, who officially dubbed the State’s color-coded system as the “West Virginia Model” during Friday’s briefing.

Gov. Justice noted that White House Coronavirus Response Coordinator Dr. Deborah Birx praised the West Virginia Model as “remarkable” during her recent trip to West Virginia, highlighting the plan as a leading practice nationwide for all states to emulate.

“Earlier this week we were delighted to see the Kentucky basically mimicked our color-coding system,” Gov. Justice said. “We think we’re on to something really, really good.”

Like the West Virginia Model, the CDC uses a five-color system to represent community spread for particular regions. Like the West Virginia Model, the CDC’s colors are based on metrics such as the number of new cases per 100,000 population on a 14-day rolling average as well as the overall percentage of positive tests.

“I’ve said so many times how, in West Virginia, we have been the leaders across the nation with the ways we’ve responded to this pandemic,” Gov. Justice said. “Whether it be how we were the first state in the country to fully test our nursing homes and assisted living communities or now what we’ve done as far as developing a color-coding system.”

The Governor also noted that the new CDC system has looser restrictions than the West Virginia Model when it comes to when children should be permitted back into schools.

“From our standpoint, we have been extremely cautious,” Gov. Justice said. “We all want our kids back to school. But, first and foremost, we need to move in a way that’s as safe as possible for our teachers, service personnel, communities, and our kids themselves.

“Considering that our state has one of the most vulnerable populations and that our numbers are way down when you look at West Virginia compared to other states, I know we are doing the right thing,” Gov. Justice continued.

Later during Friday’s briefing, the Governor was asked to compare West Virginia’s color-coded map to the Harvard Global Health Institute’s COVID Risk Level Model, which served as the original inspiration to West Virginia’s system.

“We’re not just sitting on our butts, we’ve got great people working on this to make it better and better,” Gov. Justice said. “That’s why you now see Kentucky and the CDC looking to the West Virginia Model for inspiration.

“‘West Virginia grown: the West Virginia Model.’ Doesn’t it have an incredible ring to it?” Gov. Justice continued. “I want to see the West Virginia Model everywhere.”