Boone County Health Dept. officials said a state audit that found approximately 40 additional positive COVID-19 cases since January could be the reason the county remains in a yellow advisory designation on the state’s color-coded coronavirus advisory map, despite reporting weeks of declining COVID-19 metrics.
A yellow designation is the second lowest color designation, with blue being the lowest. Businesses and restaurants within a blue county can fully reopen with social distancing measures, while counties in other color designations must abide by correlating capacity restrictions.
The BCHD reported 115 new cases the week of March 6. The department begins its reporting week on Fridays. The week of Feb. 27, the BCHD reported 63 additional COVID-19 cases. Periodically, the ISDH performs data audits of local health departments, and during a recent data audit, the ISDH found approximately 40 previously unreported positive COVID-19 cases dating back to January, BCHD Director of Nursing and Vital Records Lisa Younts said.
“The state had thrown in about 40 cases on last week’s numbers, which kept us in yellow,” Younts said. “Instead of adding it to the total, they added it to our week, which made our positivity rate go up.”
As of March 17, the ISHD reported that Boone County had 76 positive COVID-19 cases per 100,000 residents and a 5.01 percent test positivity rate. The county would have been given a blue designation for the week if it had a positivity rate of less than 5 percent. Counties are required to report two consecutive weeks in a given color designation before its advisory level can change.
“So, we’ll be yellow for the next two weeks,” Younts said March 15. “But if the trends stay the way they are, and the trends are declining, we’ll be blue soon.”