COLUMBUS (WCMH) — Franklin became the first county in Ohio to reach level 4, or purple, on Ohio’s public health advisory system on Thursday, and Gov. Mike DeWine warned that new case counts from this week may end up increasing as the results of 12,000 COVID-19 tests are double-checked.
As of Thursday, Nov. 19, a total of 326,615 (+7,787) cases have been reported in Ohio since the pandemic began, leading to 5,890 (+63) deaths and 23,560 (+343) hospitalizations. A 21-day statewide curfew, from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m., is set to take effect Thursday night.
Franklin County moved up to level 4 on the updated advisory map and is the only county at purple this week. On Wednesday, Franklin County and Columbus officials announced a stay-at-home advisory for 28 days, beginning Friday.
Seventy-two of Ohio’s 88 counties are at level 3, or red. The remaining 15 are at level 2.
DeWine said the 24-hour case change of 7,787 is probably not accurate and lower than the actual number. The Department of Health has been double-checking the results of antigen tests for COVID-19, and a backlog has developed since Monday. DeWine said 12,000 such tests are being double-checked, with most of them expected to be confirmed. DeWine said he should have an update Friday.
DeWine was encouraged by reports of how effective vaccines developed by Pfizer and Moderna were, with both better than 90%. He said he hoped the vaccines would be available starting in December.
And he was pleased with compliance of a mask-wearing order he issued last week for retail stores. It calls for both customers and employees to wear masks, with limited exceptions. DeWine said enforcement officers have visited stores in about half of Ohio’s 88 counties and reported a 90% compliance rate.