Clark, Champaign counties on red alert as Ohio sets more coronavirus records

A sign lets customers know that masks are required inside by state mandate at a Springfield retail business. Gov. DeWine's mask mandate went into effect on Monday, Nov. 16. BILL LACKEY/STAFF
A sign lets customers know that masks are required inside by state mandate at a Springfield retail business. Gov. DeWine's mask mandate went into effect on Monday, Nov. 16. BILL LACKEY/STAFF

Credit: Bill Lackey

Credit: Bill Lackey

Clark and Champaign counties remained at level 3, or red, in the newest coronavirus warnings released Wednesday evening as part of Ohio’s Public Health Advisory System.

Two nearby counties, Montgomery and Franklin, are purple, or level 4, the highest rating as severe COVID-19 spread continued through the state.

And Warren County was one of 11 counties placed on the level 4 watch list, meaning it will be elevated to purple next week if conditions don’t improve.

Clark County had been on that watch list before — avoiding purple in late October — but was not designated for the watch list this week. Champaign County has not been placed on the watch list thus far.

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Level 3′s red alert status indicates a very high exposure and spread of coronavirus. The state recommends that residents limit activities as much as possible.

Counties must meet four or five of the seven data indicators to be red. A county will remain at level 3 until it meets less than four indicators and it drops below the CDC high incidence threshold of more than 100 cases per 100,000 people over a two-week period.

Clark County meets four of the state’s seven indicators under the public health advisory system that was announced in July.

Champaign County meets five of the seven indicators in the alert system.

The Clark County Combined Health District on Saturday approved a stay-at-home advisory for all county residents for 28 days.

ExploreClark County's stay-at-home advisory: What it means

The advisory asks residents to only leave home for essential activities such as work, school, getting groceries or food and seeking medical care, Clark County Combined Health District Commissioner Charles Patterson said. The board also advises against “social gatherings, scheduling events designed to bring people together and traveling in and out of the state,” the resolution says.

The advisory will run through Dec. 27, which is two incubation periods for the coronavirus.

Ohio’s purple level 4 status means counties are experiencing sustained increases in outpatient, emergency, and hospital visits by COVID-19 patients, according to a release from the Ohio Department of Health on Wednesday.

The purple level 4 means there is “severe exposure and spread” of COVID-19. The color is meant as a warning to residents to heed health recommendations, but the state does not impose further restrictions on counties based on the alert level.

Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine previously said guidance for residents living in areas with the highest warning is to stay home except for necessary travel to get supplies and services. Given the exponential spread and thin hospital capacity, Montgomery County residents were already advised to stay home unless necessary to go out.

“The ongoing high prevalence of the virus throughout Ohio, as reflected in today’s alert system update, is very dangerous as we move into the holidays,” said DeWine. “We have heard again this week from hospital administrators and front-line staff about how they are overwhelmed. It is imperative that Ohioans take the virus and this current situation seriously.”

Ohio has seen more than a month of increasing and case numbers and weeks of increased hospitalizations. ODH notes that 10 of the 11 counties on the level 4 watch list are in the Akron and Cincinnati regions, which now are seeing increased demand for adult ICU beds due to increases in COVID-19 ICU patients.

Montgomery County also has a stay-at-home advisory in effect through Dec. 17. Statewide, there also is a curfew from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m.

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