COLUMBUS — Ohio Governor Mike DeWine and Lt. Governor Jon Husted provided the following updates on Ohio’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Updated county risk levels

Governor DeWine announced that new public health data has led the Ohio Department of Health to designate 23 counties as being in a Red Alert Level Three Public Emergency as defined by the Ohio Public Health Advisory System.

• Upgraded to Level Three: Clark ; Defiance; Erie; Hardin; Henry; Lawrence; Marion; Medina.

• Continuing at Level Three:Athens; Allen*; Clermont; Cuyahoga; Delaware; Fairfield; Franklin; Hamilton; Licking; Lucas; Montgomery; Pickaway; Richland; Scioto; Union.

• Downgraded to Level Two: Butler; Lorain; Summit; Wood.

* A star indicates a county in on Ohio’s Watch List because it is closely nearing Purple Alert Level Four.

Franklin and Licking counties, despite meeting fewer indicators, remain at Red Alert Level Three due to meeting the CDC guidelines for high incidence of COVID-19.

Butler, Lorain, Summit, and Wood counties were downgraded to Orange Alert Level Two, however, these counties remain at the CDC definition of moderately high incidence of COVID-19. Both Wood and Butler counties nearly meet the definition of high incidence.

“Overall, the downgrade in the risk levels in these four counties tells us that the measures to mitigate COVID-19 spread in red counties — including increased diligence in social distancing, wearing masks, washing hands frequently, and reducing interactions with others outside your household — may be helping to slow the spread in these counties,” said Governor DeWine. “We are cautiously optimistic about this, but these are still high levels of spread, and citizens across Ohio must continue to be vigilant.”

Detailed information on each Red Alert Level Three county can be found on the Ohio Public Health Advisory System’s website. The system was developed to provide local health departments, community leaders, and the public with data and information on the severity of the COVID-19 spread in the counties in which they live. The system consists of four levels with specific risk-level guidelines. Each level is calculated with data gathered on seven public health indicators.

Ohio’s statewide mask order has been in effect since 6 p.m. on Thursday, July 23.

Importance of self-quarantine

Following an outbreak at an Ohio long-term care facility in which more than two dozen residents and staff tested positive for COVID-19, Governor DeWine continued to encourage Ohioans to self-quarantine for 14-days after traveling to high-risk areas.

Contact tracing found that the long-term care facility’s outbreak occurred due to a group of people who traveled to a high-risk area outside of Ohio and became sick upon return. Members of the group did not isolate and spread the virus into the nursing facility.

“When we look at the way this virus is progressing, we have to do everything we can to stop it in its tracks, and that may mean deferring a vacation so you’re not putting yourself or your friends and family at risk,” said Governor DeWine. “This may mean that you need to stay home from work, but these are critical sacrifices that we are calling on all Ohioans to make when necessary.”

Current COVID-19 data

There are 80,186 confirmed and probable cases of COVID-19 in Ohio and 3,256 confirmed and probable COVID-19 deaths. A total of 9,968 people have been hospitalized, including 2,403 admissions to intensive care units. In-depth data can be accessed by visiting coronavirus.ohio.gov.

For more information on Ohio’s response to COVID-19, visit coronavirus.ohio.gov or call 1-833-4-ASK-ODH.

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