State’s two color-coded maps explained

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CHARLESTON, WV (WOWK) – As West Virginia leaders try to keep residents informed about COVID-19, many people are confused by the state’s two color-coded maps.

One is a county alert. The other is for public schools and parents. The question is simple – which one do I believe?

The map posted by the state health department Monday morning showed two counties in red. The map posted by the state education department Saturday night showed four counties in red.

“If you want to have complete transparency, you got to have different maps. It can be different on Saturday morning and it can be different every day because it changes that fast,” Governor Jim Justice said.

The state counts COVID-19 cases differently than the department of education. For example, if there’s an outbreak at a church or nursing home, it counts as a single case statewide, but on the school map each person sick in that facility is added to the county’s total.

“If you notice the seven day color-coded average is on the DHHR website for the state, then you have to hit the link for the schools and it takes you to the board of education page,” Dr. Sherri Young, Kanawha-Charleston Health Department said.

Since the maps change daily, it’s hard for parents to plan out their week and their child’s school schedule. 

“It’s the lack of transparency of what’s happening and why are those numbers and why are those colors are changing on the map.” Richard Katz, Parent said.

Overall, both maps are there to inform the public about

“If people get frustrated with the maps, it’s understandable. the thing to take home at the end of the day is, we need to make sure children are safe, we need to teach everyone wear your mask,” Dr. Young said.

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