Lorain County at risk of raising to purple level of state’s coronavirus system

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COLUMBUS, Ohio (WJW)– Lorain County is at risk of being elevated to the purple level of the Ohio Public Health Advisory System.

The system, created by the Ohio Department of Health and introduced in July, determines coronavirus risk in each of the state’s 88 counties and assigns a color. Yellow is the least severe, while purple is the most severe.

Hamilton County is the only county in the purple level, while Lorain and Clermont counties are at risk of moving up because of increased health care utilization.

“We’re not necessarily seeing a dramatic surge after Christmas and the New Year, but there is a bit of an upswing in our cases,” Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine said on Thursday.

The state has been shifting away from color-coded system, saying it was a good early indicator but now that Ohio is in a plateau, it doesn’t reflect the sustained high levels of the virus. DeWine highlighted two other maps: one showing COVID-19 incidence rates and the only showing intensive care unit utilization.

“The portion of ICU patients with COVID has gone down slightly. ICU use is a lagging indicator, so this is still coming down from our pre-holiday peak. However, it does look as though our cases are starting to increase again,” DeWine said.

The Ohio Public Health Advisory 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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