CLEVELAND, Ohio – Nine Ohio counties are now under red alert in the state’s coronavirus advisory system, with Cuyahoga County continuing a step lower at orange for the the sixth consecutive week, Gov. Mike DeWine announced Thursday.
The red counties because of growing or lingering COVID-19 spread include the addition of five this week – Ashland, Delaware, Pike, Scioto and Stark. Four others remain there from the previous week – Butler, Mercer, Montgomery and Putnam.
A week ago there were five red counties, the lowest number since DeWine introduced the four-level advisory system July 2. Red is considered a Level 3 public emergency because of “very high exposure and spread.” Purple is the highest level, a step above red, but no county yet has been placed on Level 4 purple alert.
The red counties last week were Butler, Mercer, Montgomery, Putnam and Portage, with the governor at the time blaming off-campus gatherings around Kent State for the increased infections that led to Portage County being on that list. Portage dropped back down to orange in this week’s update, meeting three of the state’s seven criteria for concern.
Cuyahoga County on July 2 started out on red and stayed there until dropping to Level 2 orange on Aug. 20.
Case numbers have improved dramatically for Cuyahoga County, but not enough to drop to Level 1 yellow. For the fifth straight week, Cuyahoga has been flagged for two of the seven areas of concern. That needs to drop to one to go to yellow.
For new cases in the last two weeks, one of the criteria that has kept Cuyahoga in orange, Cuyahoga has dropped from 139.4 cases per 100,000 in the July 30 update to 54.6 this week. Yet it needs to be below 50 for a county not to be flagged for this measure. Fifty-two of the 88 counties are at 50 cases per 100,000 or above.
The other area where Cuyahoga County has been flagged regularly is for more than 50% of its new cases being outside congregate living areas, such as nursing home, in at least one of the last three weeks.
Like Cuyahoga, nearly every county in the state was flagged for not staying below this threshold. Seventy-nine of the state’s 88 counties currently are flagged this.
Cuyahoga County was flagged for meeting two of seven coronavirus-concern measures this week, keeping the county at orange alert. The number of indicators must drop to one before a county is assigned the lower yellow alert.Ohio Department of Health
This week there are 32 yellow counties statewide, and 47 in orange.
In the Greater Cleveland area, Cuyahoga and Portage are joined in orange by Lorain and Summit counties. Yellow this week are Geauga, Lake and Medina counties
See the chart at the bottom of the story for how each Ohio county graded.
Each county is graded on seven criteria. Meeting none or one of the criteria places a county on Level 1 yellow; two or three on Level 2 orange; four or five on Level 3 red; and six or seven on Level 4 purple. No county has ever been placed on purple alert.
* 1. New cases – Alert triggered when there are 50 new cases per cases 100,000 residents over the last two weeks.
* 2. Increase in new cases – Alert triggered by an increase in cases for five straight days at any point over the last three weeks. This is based on the date of onset of symptoms, not when the cases are reported.
* 3. Non-congregate living cases – Alert triggered when at least 50% of the new cases in one of the last three weeks have occurred in outside congregate living spaces such as nursing homes and prisons.
* 4. Emergency rooms – Alert triggered when there is an increase in visits for COVID-like symptoms or a diagnosis for five straight days at any point in the last three weeks.
* 5. Doctor visits – Alert triggered when there is an increase in out-patient visits resulting in confirmed cases or suspected diagnosis for COVID-19 for five straight days at any point in the last three weeks.
* 6. Hospitalizations – Alert triggered when there is an increase in new COVID-19 patients for five straight days at any point over the last three weeks. This is based on the county or residence, not the location of the hospital.
* 7. Intensive Care Unit occupancy – Alert triggered when ICU occupancy in a region exceeds 80% of total ICU beds and at least 20% of the beds are being used for coronavirus patients for at least three days in the last week.
Here is how each Ohio county graded this week in Gov. Mike DeWine’s coronavirus alert system.Ohio Department of Health
Related stories and data
See coronavirus cases by day for each Ohio county, including per capita and cases in last seven days
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