Summit County raised to red level for coronavirus risk; Outbreak tied to fraternal club

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COLUMBUS, Ohio (WJW)– Summit County was raised to Level 3, or the red level, of the Ohio Public Health Advisory System.

Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine released the latest color-coded map, which determines a county’s risk for coronavirus, during his news conference on Thursday.

“Summit County is seeing a sustained increase, sadly, in emergency department visits for COVID-like illness. That is an early warning sign,” DeWine said.

On Aug. 20, the county had an average of five visits per day to emergency rooms with coronavirus-related symptoms, according to the governor. It increased to nine per day on Aug. 27. DeWine said there is also a sustained increase in hospital admissions.

DeWine said outbreaks in Summit County are associated to workplaces and a fraternal club. He said two people went to the club, which is a non-profit with a bar and restaurant, and did not know they had the virus. Since then, several employees, other members and family members got COVID-19.

Twelve people, ages 29 to 81, associated with the club have tested positive, according to DeWine. Four people have been hospitalized and two are seriously ill.

“We don’t share these stories to make people feel bad. This is just a horrible, horrible situation,” DeWine said. “This story just illustrates how this can happen in what would appear to be a very benign, friendly situation. So we just ask people to continue to wear masks and social distance.”

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.

Yellow or Level One: County has triggered zero or one of the indicators. 

Orange or Level Two: County has triggered two or three indicators.

Red or Level Three: County has triggered four or five indicators. 

Purple or Level Four: County has triggered six or seven indicators.

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