MORGANTOWN — Tuesday afternoon posed as the golden hour for the newly-adopted “gold” counties across West Virginia.
The Governor’s office and the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources announced new protocols for the COVID-19 metrics map for schools and extracurricular activities on Tuesday, by adding a fifth color to the already-existing green, yellow, orange and red labels.
The map’s fifth color is a “gold” category, according to Gov. Jim Justice and the DHHR, which will fit in between yellow and orange in terms of COVID-19 case loads. Counties will now be labeled “gold” with new COVID-19 case loads ranging from 10-14.9 cases per 100,000 people, with yellow still fitting into the 3.1-9.9 range and orange now in the 15-24.9 range. Previously the orange color label comprised case loads from 10-24.9 per 100,000.
Counties now listed in the new “gold” category will be permitted to resume sports competition and play actual games immediately, according to WVSSAC Director Bernie Dolan, but there are restrictions on which teams gold counties will be allowed to play. Gold county teams are allowed to compete only against in-county opponents or other gold county opponents, according to Dolan.
On Tuesday’s map, five counties moved from orange to gold — Boone, Fayette, Logan, Putnam and Mingo all making the switch.
That leaves just three of the state’s 55 counties sidelined based on the new map, with Kanawha and Monroe counties still in orange and Monongalia County still in red. Conditioning drills are permitted in orange counties, but no practices or games, while red counties are barred from all extracurricular activities.
The WVSSAC and DHHR also announced new protocols for fan attendance on Tuesday that will allow grandparents of student-athletes to attend games in person for counties labeled either green or yellow.