(WKBN) – On Thursday, both Mahoning and Trumbull counties have been moved from Risk Level 2/Orange to Risk Level 3/Red in the Ohio Public Health Advisory Alert System.
To obtain Risk Level 3/Red, a county must trigger at least four to five of the seven data indicators.
In a release, Mahoning County Public Health announced that Mahoning County had met the following four indicators:
- New cases per Capita – 87.0 cases per 100,000
- Sustained increase in new cases – 9.0 average cases on 9/19 by 9/30.
- Proportion of cases not in a congregate setting
- Sustained increase in emergency department visits – 4.4 average visits on 9/25 to 8.9 on 10.4
Trumbull County Combined Health District announced in a release:
- From 9/28 – 10/4, they a saw new case increase of 95 cases compared to 48 cases the previous week.
- Case rate has increased to 57.6 per 100,000 as of 10/6 compared to 29.5 per 100,000 on 9/29.
According to Trumbull County Combined Health District, these are not cases from long term care or the prison system, for the most part.
“We have 18 Red counties, which is more than we’ve seen since the week of July 23,” said Governor DeWine. “Additionally, there are 58 Orange counties this week, the highest ever. 96% of Ohioans are living in a Red or Orange county. The virus continues to spread quickly throughout the state, and we need to continue staying at home when sick, wearing a mask when out, and keeping at least six feet between you and those outside of your household.”
The near doubling of cases within a one-week period demonstrates a high activity of community spread.
“We are seeing more patients now then we did two weeks ago or a month ago,” said Mercy Health Medical Director James Kravec. “With the change from the orange to the red, it is an indication that there are more positive cases, and it is an indication there are more admitted patients in our hospitals.”
Governor Mike DeWine said large gatherings are largely to blame.
“In half of our red counties, there are outbreaks related to funerals or weddings,” DeWine said.
David Knarr, with Lane Funeral Homes, disagrees. He says they haven’t had any issues with COVID-19 cases among their staff or clients coming in. They’ve even gone as far as putting rope up to divide families, limiting contact and enforcing social distancing on top of requiring masks and a rigorous sanitizing routine.
“We’ve gone to great lengths to make sure we weren’t getting anybody in contact and all of that,” he said. “Literally, after every family has left, we immediately put a cleaning crew in whatever building. To be honest, I’m not sure how much more we could do.”
Knarr says they plan to keep doing what they’ve been doing and hope they won’t’ have to enforce tight crowd restrictions again on grieving families.
Mahoning and Trumbull county residents are encouraged to continue to follow all current health orders.
Facial coverings are to be worn at all times, including when in any indoor location that is not a residence; when outdoors and unable to consistently maintain a distance of six feet or more from others; and waiting for, riding, driving or operating public transportation, a taxi, a private care service or ride sharing vehicle.
The Ohio Public Health Advisory Alert System is a color-coded system designed to supplement existing statewide orders through a data-driven framework to assess the degree of COVID-19 spread and to engage and empower individuals, businesses, communities, local governments, and others in their response and actions.
The system consists of four levels that provide Ohioans with guidance as to the severity of the problem in the counties in which they live. The levels are determined by seven data indicators that identify the risk level for each county and a corresponding color code to represent that risk level.
Residents should follow the recommended guidelines for Risk Level 3 to reduce the spread of COVID-19:
- Conduct a daily health/symptom self-evaluation and stay at home if symptomatic.
- Maintain social distancing of at least 6 feet from non-household members.
- Wear face coverings in public, especially when social distancing is difficult to maintain.
- Increase caution when interacting with others not practicing social distancing or wearing face covers.
- Avoid traveling to high-risk areas.
- Follow good hygiene standards, including:
- Wash hands frequently with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
- Use hand sanitizer frequently.
- Avoid touching your face.
- Cover coughs or sneezes (e.g., into a tissue, or elbow).
- Symptom self-evaluation monitoring.
- Avoid contact with anyone who is considered high-risk.
- High-risk individuals should take extra care to follow precautions.
- Decrease in-person interactions outside household.
- Seek medical care as needed, but limit or avoid unnecessary visits to hospitals, nursing homes, and residential care facilities to see others as much as possible.
- Decrease in-person interactions with others.
- Consider necessary travel only.
- Limit attending gatherings of any number.
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