Franklin County is first to reach purple level for coronavirus risk; Lake and Lorain on watch list


COLUMBUS, Ohio (WJW)– Franklin County became the first in Ohio to move to the purple level of the state’s coronavirus risk system on Thursday. Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine said this is a sign of sustained strain on our health care services.

The Ohio Public Health Advisory System determines a county’s exposure and spread of COVID-19, and assigns it a color. Yellow is the least severe, while purple is the worst.

“While Franklin is the only county moving to purple this week, we see similar stories in much of the state. Our health care system is feeling the impact of this disease and hospitals are worried about being able to keep up with staffing of nurses and doctors and other support staff,” DeWine said on Thursday.

Northeast Ohio counties in the red include Ashland, Ashtabula, Cuyahoga, Geauga, Holmes, Lake Lorain, Medina, Richland, Portage, Stark, Summit, Tuscarawas and Wayne.

Lake, Lorain and Montgomery counties are at risk for reaching the purple level.

The number of counties in the red continues to increase from 56 two weeks ago, 68 last week and 72 this week. There are no counties in the yellow level.

The Ohio Public Health Advisory Alert System 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.
    • Conduct a daily health/symptom self-evaluation and stay at home if symptomatic.
    • Maintain social distancing of at least 6 feet from non-household members.
    • Wear face coverings in public especially when social distancing is difficult to maintain.
    • Increase caution when interacting with others not practicing social distancing or wearing face covers.
    • Avoid traveling to high-risk areas.
    • Follow good hygiene standards.
  • Level 2 (Orange): Increased exposure and spread. Exercise high degree of caution.
    • Same guidelines as in Level 1.
    • Avoid contact with anyone who is considered high-risk.
    • High-risk individuals should take extra care to follow precautions.
    • Decrease in-person interactions outside household.
    • Seek medical care as needed, but limit or avoid unnecessary visits to hospitals, nursing homes and residential care facilities to see others as much as possible.
  • Level 3 (Red): Very high exposure and spread. Limit activities as much as possible.
    • Same guidelines as in Levels 1 and 2.
    • Decrease in-person interactions with others.
    • Consider necessary travel only.
    • Limit attending gatherings of any number.
  • Level 4 (Purple): Severe exposure and spread. Only leave home for supplies and services.
    • Same guidelines as in Level 1 to 3.
    • Stay at home/necessary travel only.

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