Boone County Health Department reports decrease in county COVID-19 percent positivity rate


The Boone County Health Dept. reported a decrease in the county’s percent positivity rate, but the Boone County Commissioners chose to renew the county’s state of emergency resolution because of the streamlined emergency communications it allows.

The county’s COVID-19 two-week percent positivity rate, which averages the percent of tests that come back positive over two weeks, dipped 0.28 percent the week starting Aug. 17, BCHD Emergency Services Director Tom Ryan said during the commissioners’ Aug. 24 special meeting. The average rate dropped from 7.54 to 7.26 percent during the two weeks, and Ryan said there were more days with lower case numbers compared to the prior two weeks.

County deaths have held steady for over a month now, settling at 51 confirmed COVID-19 deaths since the start of the pandemic, according to the BCHD as of press time.

But while certain data points trended in a positive direction, Ryan suggested the county remain in a state of emergency.

“I recommend extending (the resolution) to ensure that our positivity rate continues to decrease and that all our agencies have continued transparency from top decisions both up and down the chain,” Ryan said.

The state of emergency resolution will be renewed for another seven days, and the commissioners will decide at their Aug. 31 meeting whether to renew the resolution for another seven days.

The county health department, in conjunction with county school districts, chose a guidance model created by the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control to determine if and when schools should close due to COVID-19. The model tracks the county’s two-week cumulative incidence rate (the number of new infections per 100,000 county residents); trend in incidence rate (whether cases in the county are increasing, stable or decreasing); and two-week percent positivity rate.

Under the model, the county would need to register as “high” in two of the three categories. To date, the county is high in only one category: its trend in incidence rate, meaning the number of county COVID-19 cases has increased in the past two weeks.


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