Coronavirus: “There is spread throughout the community,” DeWine says as Clark County hits level 3

Clark County has been upgraded to a level 3, otherwise referred to as the red level, on the Ohio Public Health Advisory System.

This is the second time the county has reached level 3 since Gov. Mike DeWine unveiled the advisory system on July 2. The first time the county hit the red level was on July 23. Every other week the county has remained in level 2.

The county is now one of just two level 3 counties in the Miami Valley, the other being Preble, as Montgomery moved down to a level 2 for the first time on Thursday.

According to the ODH’s website, as of Thursday afternoon, Clark County had 1,307 cases, 15 deaths and two probable deaths of the coronavirus.

The seven indicators the Ohio Department of Health uses when judging what level to give a county: 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.

DeWine said the Clark County hit four indicators this week causing it to be ranked at a level 3. The indicators were: new cases per capita, sustained increase in new cases, proportion of cases not in a community spread and sustained increase in new COVID hospital admissions.

For the last two weeks, the county had been hitting three indicators; new cases per capita, proportion of cases not in a community spread and sustained increase in outpatient visits for COVID-like illness.

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“(Clark County) has had 137 new cases during the past two weeks from Aug. 5 to Aug. 17. The number of outpatient visits for COVID has gone up almost four times from 11 per day to 41 per day,” DeWine said. “Cases are linked to multiple, multiple small workplace outbreaks and a couple of long-term care facilities.”

DeWine said the number of small outbreaks across the county suggests, “there is (COVID-19) spread throughout the community.”

Earlier this week, Clark County Combined Health District Commissioner Charles Patterson said he wouldn’t be surprised to see the county jump into the red level because of two things DeWine mentioned — outbreaks at long-term care facilities and hospitalizations.

As of Wednesday, 11 long-term care facilities in Clark County had at least one current case of COVID-19 identified in either a resident or a staff member, according to data from the CCCHD.

The facility with the largest outbreak in the county is Mercy Health Oakwood Village. As of Wednesday, the senior living facility had 23 residents and 20 staff members who have tested positive for the virus, according to the CCCHD, bringing their total to 43 current COVID-19 cases.

One resident death, a male in his 70s, has also been confirmed to be associated with the outbreak.

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Because of the outbreaks, Patterson reiterated the importance of everyone wearing a face mask in public and social distancing.

“People are tired of me saying that. And there is a great way to stop me from saying it,” Patterson said.

As a result of the county’s move to level 3, Mercy Health announced they would enact new visitor restrictions at Springfield Regional Medical Center and Urbana Hospital at midnight on Friday, according to a statement from the hospital.

No visitors will be allowed at SRMC and Urbana Hospital under the new restriction, the statement said.

“Exceptions include mother/baby and pediatric patients, who can have one designated partner or primary caretaker/guardian accompany and stay with them,” the statement said. “Mercy Health will consider expectation based on end-of-life situations or when a visitor is essential for the patient’s emotional well-being and care.”

According to Mercy Health, the restriction is being put into place, “due to increased spread of COVID-19 in the region.”

Champaign County was given a level 2 for the second straight week. It hit three indicators: new cases per capita, sustained increase in new cases and proportion of cases not in a community spread.

Champaign County had 223 cases and two deaths of the coronavirus as of Thursday afternoon, according to the ODH.

On Thursday, Ohio reported 112,003 total cases and 3,929 deaths of the coronavirus, according to the ODH. Between Wednesday and Thursday, 1,122 new cases and 22 new deaths were reported.

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