10 million Ohioans live in ‘Red’ counties

Governor DeWine spoke with Dr. Nick Dreher, medical director of the Population Health Innovation Institute at MetroHealth System, and Dr. David …

COLUMBUS — Ohio Governor Mike DeWine announced Thursday the current statistics on COVID-19 in Ohio.

“Wehave 70 counties that are either red or high incidence. That’s 10million Ohioans or 85 percent of the population, living in an area with ahigh risk of community transmission,” Governor DeWine said.

Newhealth data compiled by the Ohio Department of Health found that 29counties currently have a very high risk of exposure and spread (Level3): Adams, Butler, Clark, Cuyahoga, Fayette, Franklin, Greene, Guernsey,Hamilton, Highland, Lawrence, Licking, Lucas, Madison, Mahoning,Marion, Mercer, Montgomery, Muskingum, Pike, Portage, Putnam, Richland,Ross, Stark, Summit, Scioto, Union and Warren.

While Allen Countyremains at Level 2, Allen County Public Health released the followingalert: According to the Ohio Department of Health, the number of newCOVID-19 cases per capita for Allen County is 248. This numberrepresents the number of new cases per 100,000 people in Allen Countyover the past 14 days.

Local public health officials are noting adrastic increase in the number of new daily reported cases: There havebeen 392 newly reported cases to date in this month, and 33hospitalizations

If this pace continues, October will record the most cases and hospitalizations in a month since the start of the pandemic

Allen County has the seventh highest per capita rate of Ohio’s 88 counties, at 248.17/100,000 residents.

Director Tami Gough also enouraged people to start their own contact tracing once they have received a positive test.

“Typically,upon completion of the initial disease investigation with anewly-identified individual who has COVID-19, people that are named ashaving been in close contact with the COVID-19 positive individual arenotified of their exposure and the need to quarantine. The quicker thiscan happen, the more it will reduce the spread. People that know theirtest results can reach out to the contacts they know quicker than AllenCounty Public Health during this time of vast spread,” Gough said in therelease late Thursday. “The rapidly increasing number of cases isextending the time it takes for notifications of exposure for closecontacts of newly-identified cases. ACPH is asking individuals who havetested positive for COVID-19 to let people that they know and have hadclose contact with (within 6 feet for more than 15 minutes) that theyneed to quarantine.”

ACPH is continuing to investigate an outbreakat a fraternal organization in Allen County, but points out thatsimilar outbreaks are likely as the county is experiencing vastcommunity spread.

“The coronavirus needs people to thrive andspread – it does not discriminate on who or where those people are,”Allen County Public Health Commissioner Kathy Luhn said. “Organizationsand activities that bring together large groups are providingopportunities for the virus to continue to spread. Please keep yourgatherings small and spread out.”

Van Wert County saw an increaseof 42 cases since Oct.8, with a total of 204 affirmed cases and fourdeaths. There are currently 44 active cases in the county with threehospitalizations.

Everyone can help slow the spread

Stay home when necessary to help slow the spread of coronavirus.

Becausethe coronavirus spreads from person to person, if people stay home inthe following situations, it will help slow the spread. Please stay homeand limit your contact with others as much as possible if:

• you do not feel well

• you are waiting for the results of a COVID-19 test

• you have been asked to quarantine

• you are a close contact to someone who has been diagnosed with COVID-19

• you have been diagnosed with COVID-19. You should also isolate within your home as much as possible.

Follow safety measures

Duringthis time of rising case numbers it is crucial that residents continueto follow safety measures aimed at preventing the spread of coronavirus:

Maintainat least 6 feet between yourself and others at all times. When it isnot possible to distance yourself, keep interactions as brief aspossible – less than 15 minutes.

Wear a mask, even when 6 feetapart from others. Wearing a mask provides an extra layer of protectionthat lowers the risk of persons becoming infected with the coronavirus.However, a mask does not eliminate exposure to OVERSET FOLLOWS:the virus – making the 6-foot distance even more important.

Acounty-by-county breakdown outlining the presence of COVID-19 in all ofOhio’s 88 counties can be found on the Ohio Public Health AdvisorySystem’s website.

Locally, playoff football games have beencanceled by both Jefferson and St. John’s and Jefferson High School hasadopted a hybrid learning model, reducing the number of students in thebuilding on any given day.

St. John’s announced Thursday that a student who attends our junior high/high school has tested positive for COVID-19.

“AllenCounty Public Health has been notified of this situation and hasprovided us guidance to assist in conducting contact tracing to identifyindividuals who had close contact with the student who testedpositive,” High School Principal Adam Lee said in a letter to parents.“If your child had close contact with this student, you will becontacted by the health department and/or St. John’s and providedinstructions for self-care and any necessary quarantine period.”

Increased spread in cases

GovernorDeWine also announced the state’s positivity rate was 5.4% and theseven-day average was 4.2%. This is up from September when thepositivity rate was 2.7%. He reported that on Thursday, Ohio had 1,042COVID inpatients in hospitals, which is a significant increase from the563 patients on Sept. 20, 2020.

Governor DeWine spoke with Dr.Nick Dreher, medical director of the Population Health InnovationInstitute at MetroHealth System, and Dr. David Margolius, divisiondirector of internal medicine at MetroHealth System about the recentrise in COVID-19 cases in Ohio.

Dr. Margolius told Ohioans that ifthey are planning to spend time with family and friends, they need todo it safely by wearing a mask and practicing social distancing. Dr.Dreher reminded Ohioans that they know how to fight the spread ofCOVID-19 and need to continue following the proper prevention methods toavoid stress on Ohio’s hospital systems.

“The only way, the onlyway we can beat this virus back is to follow the prevention methods wehave been talking about since the beginning of the pandemic,” saidGovernor DeWine. “Stay home when you are sick. Social distance. Wear amask. Always.”

Census reminder

Lt. GovernorHusted also reminded Ohioans that Thursday was the last day to respondto the 2020 Census. The Census determines the spending of $675 Billionin federal funds and what portion of that funding comes back to Ohio forschools, hospitals, public safety, roads, and bridges.

Friday’s COVID-19 data

Thereare 177,991 confirmed and probable cases of COVID-19 in Ohio and 5,054confirmed and probable COVID-19 deaths. A total of 16,910 people havebeen hospitalized, including 3,522 admissions to intensive care units.In-depth data can be accessed by visiting coronavirus.ohio.gov.

Videoof Thursday’s full update, including versions with foreign languagetranslation, can be viewed on the Ohio Channel’s YouTube page.

For more information on Ohio’s response to COVID-19, visit coronavirus.ohio.gov or call 1-833-4-ASK-ODH.