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COLUMBUS, Ohio (WJW)– Three Ohio counties, Cuyahoga, Clark and Hamilton, are at risk of being raised to the purple level of the Ohio Public Health Advisory System, which determines coronavirus risk.

The purple level is the highest on the color-coded map. It means there is severe exposure and spread, and residents should only leave home for supplies and services. No county has been labeled purple, or Level 4, since the Ohio Public Health Advisory System was introduced in early July.

The state will release a new map during Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine’s news conference at 2 p.m. Thursday.

The governor was asked about the ranking following a media availability of funding for Ohio businesses on Wednesday.

“I want to make this very clear to people, we do not have any intention, if these counties go purple, to issue any particular orders. It really is going to come down to each community taking charge and pushing back against this virus,” DeWine said.

He said each county has done a good job with leadership, including politicians, health officials and business owners, coming together. DeWine and his team have been making calls with representatives in Cuyahoga, Clark and Hamilton counties over the last two days.

The governor also spoke with school districts. Decisions about keeping students in school buildings or utilizing remote learning have been left to the individual districts. DeWine said he will not make any orders about schools on Thursday.

“Going purple basically means we’re starting to see problems with the hospitals. In the future, we’re going to see some problems if these trend lines continue,” DeWine said.

Ohio Public Health Advisory System map from Oct. 22 (Image courtesy: Ohio Governor’s Office)

The indicators are 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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