Clark County has returned to a level 2 on the Ohio Public Health Advisory System after spending a week at level 3.
The county’s new rating was released during Gov. Mike DeWine’s Thursday press conference. He also announced Ohio’s K-12 schools will be required to create a coronavirus reporting system that allows parents to report cases to the district.
Tecumseh Local Schools Superintendent Paula Crew joined the governor by video conference Thursday, making it the second time this week that someone from Clark County participated in the coronavirus update.
Clark County is coming off a level 3, which is red. The county has bounced between level 2 and level 3 since DeWine unveiled the advisory system on July 2.
The first time the county hit the red level was on July 23, the second was on Aug. 20.
The advisory system ranges from level 1 or yellow as lowest to level 4 or purple as highest and most severe. No county has received a purple rating.
The seven indicators the Ohio Department of Health uses when judging what level to give a county are: new cases per capita, sustained increase in new cases, proportion of cases not in a community spread, sustained increase in emergency department visits for COVID-like illness, sustained increase in outpatient visits for COVID-like illness, sustained increase in new COVID hospital admissions and intensive care unit bed occupancy.
Last week, Clark County hit four indictors: new cases per capita, sustained increase in new cases, proportion of cases not in a community spread and sustained increase in outpatient visits for COVID-like illness.
This week the county hit three: new cases per capita, sustained increase in new cases and proportion of case not in a community spread.
According to data from the Ohio Department of Health, Clark County saw a significant drop in average outpatient visits for COVID-like illnesses between Aug. 19 and Aug. 20. On Aug. 19 the county had a 7-day average of about 36 outpatient visits for COVID-like illnesses. On Aug. 20 that number dropped to roughly 12.
On Thursday morning, prior to the county receiving the level 2 ranking, Clark County Combined Health District Commissioner Charles Patterson said he wasn’t sure what to expect for the county’s new ranking.
“We are still seeing a considerable number of cases. The yo-yo of going up and down with the colors, it’s difficult,” Patterson said. “We know the system is not perfect and it might be more confusing to the public.”
Patterson joined DeWine’s press conference on Tuesday to talk about the county’s levels.
Statewide, six counties received a level 3 ranking this week. Among them was Montgomery County, which received a level 2 ranking last week after being at a level 3 for several straight weeks.
DeWine said the state is seeing the lowest number of red counites and the smallest number of Ohioans living in red counties since starting the alert system.
Clark County had 1,383 cases, 23 deaths and two probable deaths of the coronavirus as of Thursday afternoon, according to ODH.
Ohio reported 118,828 total cases and 4,072 deaths of the coronavirus on Thursday, according to ODH. Between Wednesday and Thursday, the state reported 1,244 new cases and 32 new deaths — both of which are above the 21-day average.
In her appearance, Crew discussed her decision to take the district online for only for at least the first nine weeks of the school year.
“Things are going very well. Large learning curve going 100% remote. I would say our motto right now is ’adapt and adjust,’ as we come across barriers and find ways to avoid those barriers, or find solutions to those barriers,” Crew said.
As students begin returning to the classroom, DeWine said all Ohio’s K-12 schools will be required to create a coronavirus reporting system that allows parents to report cases to the district.
Schools should report any students and staff cases to their health department, which will then report the cases to ODH on a weekly basis. The data will be shared on the state’s coronavirus website every Wednesday, DeWine said.
“Prompt reporting will help prevent potential further spread among students and staff,” DeWine said. “But remember, just because there is a case at a school, it doesn’t mean the school has done anything wrong. The spread you see in the community will be reflected in the schools.”
DeWine said schools should also make information about positive cases publicly available, as well as notify parents and guardians in writing about new cases.
Districts should include as much information as possible without sharing protected health information, DeWine said.
2: Clark County’s new Ohio Public Health Advisory System level
1,383: Confirmed cases of coronavirus in Clark County
23: Confirmed coronavirus deaths in Clark County
Source; Ohio Department of Health
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