Only one Ohio county, Gallia County, increased in level in the latest Coronavirus Health Advisory map as Franklin County stays at "Red Alert Level 3."
Several counties had "Yellow Alert Level 1" status, seven, up from three last week. Those counties included: Coshocton, Carroll, Morgan, Noble, Tuscarawas, Vinton, and Washington.
As for the changes this week, Gallia upgraded from yellow to orange and Warren, Clermont, Putnam, Wyandot, Ross, and Athens downgraded from red to orange. Coshocton, Tuscarawas, Morgan, Washington downgraded from orange to yellow.
The Ohio Department of Health (ODH) said this week’s case rate per 100,000 residents for a 14-day period has declined to 140.2. This is the third continuous week of decline since our recent high of 200 on April 15, ODH said.
In Franklin County, cases per 100,000 dropped to 145.7, down from 175 last week and 215.2 two weeks ago.
The alert system has four levels to provide Ohioans with guidance on 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 each risk level. Below are the seven data indicators:
- New cases per capita: When data shows a county has had an average of 50 cases per 10,000 people over a two-week period that will trigger a flag for an increased case rate. Using this data, means health officials are taking into account the population of a county when monitoring case increases.
- A sustained increase in new cases: If the number of new cases in a county continually increases, that's another indicator of virus spread. A county will be flagged for meeting this indicator if data shows at least a five-day period of sustained growth in cases.
- Proportion of cases not congregate cases: Data showing more than 50 percent of new cases originating from non-congregate settings during at least one of the pas three weeks will trigger a flag.
- Sustained increase in ER visits: ER data will show health officials trends in the number of people who visit an emergency department with COVID-19 symptoms or a COVID-19 diagnosis as a result of the visit. A County is flagged when there is an increase in such ER visits over a five-day period.
- Sustained increase in outpatient visits: This data set looks at the number of people visiting outpatient settings, including telehealth appointments, with suspected or confirmed COVID-19 symptoms. A county is flagged when there is an increase over a five-day period.
- Sustained increase in new COVID-19 hospital admissions: When the numbers show at least a five-day period of sustained growth in the number of county residents with COVID-19 are admitted to a hospital the county will be flagged for meeting this indicator.
- ICU bed occupancy: This indicator looks at data for COVID-19 and non-COVID-19 use of ICU beds. A county will be flagged for this indicator when the regional ICU occupancy goes about 80 percent for at least three of the last seven days.
The state is also working to refine additional measurements including contact tracing, tests per capita, and percent positivity.
Based on these date indicators, the color-coded system will provide counties with guidance on the severity of the problem:
- Alert level 1 (Yellow): A county has triggered zero or one of the seven indicators and there is active exposure and spread.
- Alert level 2 (Orange): A county has triggered two or three of the seven indicators and there is an increased risk of exposure and spread.
- Alert level 3 (Red): A county has triggered four or five of the seven indicators and there is very high exposure and spread. Ohioans in these counties should limit activities as much as possible and wear a mask when they go out.
- Alert level 4 (Purple): A county has triggered six to seven of the indicators and there is severe exposure and spread. Ohioans in these counties should stay home as much as possible.