Monroe County moves from red to orange ahead of school year

CHARLESTON, WV (WOAY) – The COVID-19 Data Review Panel, responsible for verifying the data utilized in the West Virginia Department of Education (WVDE) School Re-Entry Metrics Map, today reviewed data from a public health perspective to determine the accuracy and reliability of the data to ensure they are a true indication of what’s occurring among counties across West Virginia.

As a result of today’s review, the panel has determined that all counties will remain the same as today’s West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources’ (DHHR) County Alert Map with the exception of Monroe County, as it will move from red to orange on the WVDE re-entry map.  Although Monroe County has been a red county for over a week, both the daily number of cases and the average 7-day incidence have declined sufficiently to meet the criteria for orange.  The panel was able to draw valid conclusions from that trend that the level of disease in Monroe County is improving.

“The individuals on this COVID-19 Data Review Panel are responsible for reviewing trends in the data and the degree of statistical confidence in the data based upon accepted public health practice,” said Bill J. Crouch, DHHR Cabinet Secretary. “This panel is not making decisions about schools reopening but is responsible for providing accurate data that will drive those decisions.”

The panel also ensured that all COVID-19 positive nursing home residents and prison inmates are excluded in the calculation of both 7-day and 14-day county incident rates because these individuals are not in the community and therefore not contributing to community spread.

“Our goal is to ensure that we provide good, solid data into the model that the West Virginia Department of Education will use to make decisions on school re-openings,” Crouch said.

Counties with orange and red levels are required to begin the school year with remote learning and cannot transition to in-person or blended learning models until moving to yellow or green.

The COVID-19 Data Review Panel includes Dr. Clay Marsh, Coronavirus Czar, and Vice President & Executive Dean for Health Sciences at WVU; DHHR Cabinet Secretary Bill Crouch; Dr. Ayne Amjad, State Health Officer; Dr. Jeff Coben, Associate Vice President for Health Affairs and Dean of the School of Public Health at WVU; and Amy Atkins, Director, Office of Epidemiology and Prevention Services, DHHR’s Bureau for Public Health.

Please visit the dashboard located at www.coronavirus.wv.gov for more information.