Ohio Public Health Advisory System

Ohio Public Health Advisory System, as of July 30. Photo courtesy the Ohio Department of Health.

By Sydney Dawes

Athens NEWS Editor

Athens County is no longer in the “red” in the Ohio Public Health Advisory System. Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine announced during his July 30 afternoon press conference that the county has been downgraded to a Level 2 county, indicated on the system’s map with the color orange.

The Athens City-County Health Department issued a statement regarding the change in status in the Ohio Public Health Advisory System, urging residents to not let their guard down despite the relative decline in reported cases.

“In Athens County, increases in new cases, new cases in non-congregate settings, emergency room visits, and outpatient visits, were among the criteria that kept Athens County red,” the release stated. “Athens County status as an orange alert level 2 confirms that we still meet 2-3 indicators and citizens should continue to exercise a high degree of caution.”

Earlier this month, Gov. DeWine announced that Athens was the only county in the state nearing Level 4, the most severe public health advisory, which would encourage residents to “only leave home for services and supplies.”

Last week, however, Athens County was removed from the system’s Level 4 watchlist, and was demoted to Level 3, which is still in “the red.”

As of Tuesday afternoon, there are now 350 total known cases of the coronavirus (COVID-19) in Athens County, according to the Athens City-County Health Department. Currently, there are 77 known active cases and 272 recovered cases of COVID-19 in the county.

Here are the known cases by age in Athens County, according to the Ohio Department of Health:

0-19: 28

20-29: 236

30-39: 29

40-49: 15

50-59: 16

60-69: 17

70-79: 6

80+: 3

Statewide, confirmed and probable cases of the virus are also increasing daily. ODH reported that there are now 95,106 total COVID-19 cases in Ohio, and 3,570 deaths associated with the virus.

Earlier this month, Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine unveiled the Ohio Public Health Advisory Alert System, a new coronavirus (COVID-19) warning system.

The system measures the severity of the virus in Ohio’s counties by several case indicators: new cases per capita, sustained increase in new cases, proportion of cases that are not congregate cases, sustained increase in emergency room visits, sustained increase in outpatient visits, sustained increase in new COVID-19 hospital admissions and intensive care unit (ICU) bed occupancy.

These indicators determine at what level a county rests in the Public Health Advisory Alert System.

Level 1 counties have “active exposure and spread” of the virus and have triggered zero to one of the seven case indicators. Level 2 counties have “increased exposure and spread” and have triggered two to three of the case indicators.

The Ohio Department of Health recommends those traveling to or residing in these counties exercise a high degree of caution.”

Level 3 counties have “very high exposure and spread” and have triggered four to five of the case indicators.

ODH recommends residents in those counties “limit activities as much as possible.”

According to the Ohio Public Health Advisory System, Athens County has triggered three of the seven indicators under the alert system: new cases per capita, proportion of cases that are not congregate cases and sustained increase in outpatient visits.

The county reportedly has 64.29 cases per 100,000.

Between July 24 and July 30, the county had a non-congregate percentage of cases of 87.5 percent.

In addition, as of July 28, the county had a seven-day outpatient visit average of 10.57.

No counties in Ohio are classified as Level 4 as of Thursday, but many counties reportedly have “severe exposure and spread” of the virus and have triggered six to seven of the case indicators.

sdawes@vintoncourier.com; @sydneydawes_95

Load comments