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Map system still under scrutiny

Justice continues call for more testing
The updated map shows which districts can have in-person learning.
The updated map shows which districts can have in-person learning.(wsaz)
Published: Sep. 28, 2020 at 5:07 PM EDT
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CHARLESTON, W.Va (WTAP) - Since it was introduced in late August, the color-coded map-and, moreover, the metrics behind it-have undergone a number of changes; enough that it’s been argued the system has been manipulated to improve results in the hardest-hit counties, where in-person learning and sports have been curtailed.

Monday, Governor Jim Justice and health administrators denied that was the case.

“The idea of adding positivity rate was to get more people tested," said Bill Crouch, Secretary, West Virginia Department of Health and Human Services. "If we don’t test more people in West Virginia, we’re not going to beat this disease.”

“We are absolutely identifying more and more people that we need to be able to treat, in order to be able to stop this thing,” Governor Justice added.

And the governor continued to call for more testing. Not just to determine positive cases, but to track down those spreading the virus.

At the same time, the DHHR announced a new system for contact tracing, using what Crouch called “a cloud-based platform" and adding 150 additional staff.

s“The new system is much faster, much broader, it provides a way to do investigations," he said. "It actually has functions that allow us to schedule testing. It has a broad range of abilities we have not implemented yet.”

This, as the Trump Administration plans to ship 100 million COVID-19 tests to states during the next few weeks, urging governors to use them to reopen schools.

But experts warn they are less accurate and harder to track than older laboratory tests.

(The Associated Press contributed to this story.)

Copyright 2020 WTAP. All rights reserved.

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