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CDC Adopts the “West Virginia Model”

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Last week, West Virginia Governor Jim Justice announced the addition of a fifth color to the color-coded county map. This is the system utilized by the state to evaluate the risk-potential of coronavirus-spread with regard to in-person scholastic activities. And at his coronavirus media-briefing on Friday, September 18, Gov. Justice said the CDC has adopted a similar model.

“First it was Kentucky, and now it’s the CDC,” the Governor said. “West Virginia was the leader across the nation, whether it be how we first tested all the nursing homes or the assisted living-centers, or what we did as far as visitation, or what we’ve now done as far as developing a color-code system.”

While the new CDC map does have some differences, such as using light-green as the fifth color instead of gold, and a far less-strict scale for moving between color-designations, it is incredibly similar to the modified Harvard scale currently in use by West Virginia.

Gov. Justice continued, “Now the CDC is adopting a color-code system that looks remarkably close to our system. Dr. Birx, (member of the coronavirus taskforce headed up by Vice President Mike Pence) when she was here, she said that West Virginia was leading the practice in regard to this. And that so many should try to mirror it.”

The Governor highlighted the differences between the two systems, and defended the more conservative scale used by the West Virginia model.

“It does have a broader spectrum of the easing of regulations in going back to school. So, from our standpoint, we have been cautious as we go. And that caution has led us, and we hate it like crazy, that has led us to 297 deaths (as of Friday 9/18) versus thousands and thousands,” Justice said. “I think we did the right thing, and I think we’re continuing to do the right thing in being more stringent than what the new CDC’s color-code system is, and I think we should stay that course and stay more cautious and stay more safe.”

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