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COLUMBUS, Ohio (WJW)– Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine released the latest color-coded map of the Ohio Public Health Advisory Alert System during his coronavirus news conference on Thursday.

Eighteen counties are in the red level, which is the highest number since the week of July 23. There are 58 orange counties. That’s the highest since the system was introduced. Ninety-six percent of Ohioans are living in a red or orange county, the governor said.

In half of the new red counties, there are outbreaks related to funerals or weddings, according to DeWine.

“The virus is spreading in more areas of the state and impacting a wider swath of Ohioans. Local health departments tell us this is due to lax social distancing, not enough people wearing masks, and people not following quarantine and isolation guidance,” DeWine said.

Portage County returned to the red level as Kent State University continues to quarantine students for possible COVID-19 exposure. DeWine said cases are creeping into an older population, not just college students.

Richland Public Health said Richland County remains in the red level for the second week. Residents are encouraged to limit activities and follow current health orders. The county is experiencing sustained increases in new cases, emergency room visits and hospital admissions.

Mahoning County was red for the first time. Health officials reported 18 cases associated with an out-of-county wedding. There are other outbreaks tied to two funerals, a group home and a birthday party. There’s been spread in family units and amid extended family. DeWine said the school districts have done an excellent job in keeping the spread to a minimum.

In Trumbull County, there is an outbreak linked to a school sports team with 11 players, three coaches, four students not on the team and four parents. One coach had to be hospitalized.

“There are also continued community events happening that can lead to increased viral transmission,” DeWine said.

The Ohio Public Health Advisory Alert System is a color-coded system that assess the spread of the virus in each of the state’s 88 counties. It examines the following factors: new cases per capita, sustained increase in new cases, proportion of cases that are not in congregate settings, sustained increase in COVID-19-related emergency room visits, sustained increase in COVID-19 outpatient visits including telehealth, sustained increase in COVID-19 hospital admissions and intensive care unit occupancy.

  • Level 1 (Yellow): Active exposure and spread.
  • Level 2 (Orange): Increased exposure and spread. Exercise high degree of caution.
  • Level 3 (Red): Very high exposure and spread. Limit activities as much as possible.
  • Level 4 (Purple): Severe exposure and spread. Only leave home for supplies and services.

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