Ohio Will Implement New Coronavirus Restrictions By County!

ThePatch.com, By Chris Mosby, Posted July 6th 2020

Ohio unveiled a new COVID-19 alert system that will allow officials to implement restrictions on a county-by-county basis.

The Public Health Advisory Alert System was unveiled Thursday by Gov. Mike DeWine. He said the program will allow the governor and the Ohio General Assembly to layer COVID-19 restrictions in specific regions seeing a surge in new cases.

“Our COVID-19 experts say there’s likely community spread in every Ohio county,” DeWine said Thursday. “In fact, there are only a few counties in the state that have not reported cases in the past two weeks.”

The virus is spreading at protests, bars, restaurants, tourist destinations, funerals, birthday parties, offices and other places of gathering, the governor said. Ohioans who have symptoms of the virus are also not staying home. Many Ohioans are also not wearing masks, DeWine said.

“All of the great actions Ohioans have taken are in danger, frankly, of being reversed,” DeWine said.

The new alert system will be color coded, with four levels. Each Ohio county will be assigned a color based on its danger. The levels are determined by seven data indicators that determine risk level in individual counties:

  • New cases per capita: When the data shows a county has an average of 50 cases per 100,000 people over a two-week period, that triggers a flag for an increasing case rate.
  • Sustained increase in new cases: If the number of new cases continually spreads for five straight days, a county will be flagged.
  • Proportion of new cases that are not congregate cases: This will downplay new cases in places such as prisons and nursing homes, where residents are less likely to spread COVID-19 to other Ohioans.
  • Sustained increase in emergency room visits: This is a metric that emerges prior to new COVID-19 cases, DeWine said. Counties will be flagged if there is an increase over a five-day period.
  • Sustained increase in outpatient visits: This is a metric that emerges prior to new COVID-19 cases, DeWine said.
  • Sustained increase in new COVID-19 hospital admissions: A five-day sustained growth in county residents who are admitted to hospitals for COVID-19 treatment will lead to that county being flagged.
  • Intensive care unit occupancy: This will look at regional data on COVID-19 and non-COVID-19 use of hospital beds. If the regional intensive care unit capacity hits 80 percent for three of the past seven days, a county will be flagged.

DeWine said officials will also look at contact tracing, tests per capita and a percent positivity rate for testing.

If a county hits one flag, it will be placed on Alert Level 1 (yellow). Currently, 53 counties are on Alert Level 1. Ohioans should follow all current health guidelines, including wearing masks and following social distancing guidelines.

If a county gets two or three flags, it will be on Alert Level 2 (orange). Currently, 28 counties are on Alert Level 2. Ohioans in those counties should “exercise a high degree of caution,” DeWine said, and avoid unnecessary contact with others.

If a county hits four or five indicators, it will be on Alert Level 3 (red). Seven Ohio counties are currently on Alert Level 3. Risk in those counties is considered very high, DeWine said. Residents should wear masks and reduce trips outside of their home.

If a county hits six or seven indicators, it will be on Alert Level 4 (purple). No Ohio counties are currently on Alert Level 4. Franklin County could soon move from red to purple, DeWine said.

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