Ohio Public Health Advisory System

The Ohio Public Health Advisory System, as of Sept. 3.

Athens County was upgraded to a Level 2 “orange” county in the Ohio Public Health Advisory System, The Ohio Department of Health (ODH) reported last week.

As of Tuesday afternoon, there are 437 total known cases of COVID-19 in Athens County, according to the Athens City-County Health Department: 45 of these known cases are active, and 390 are recovered cases. Athens County witnessed its second COVID-19 related death last month, the health department reported. Both COVID-19-related fatalities in Athens County were men between ages 60-69.

Statewide, confirmed and probable cases of the virus are increasing daily. ODH reported 131,992 total COVID-19 cases in Ohio, and 4,298 deaths associated with the virus.

In addition, Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine shared an updated list of Ohio’s counties ranked by coronavirus (COVID-19) occurrences during his Thursday, Sept. 3 press conference.

Athens County ranked as the 56th out of the 88 counties in Ohio, with 41.3 cases per 100,000 people between Aug. 19 to Sept. 1.

Athens County last week was ranked 78th out of 88 counties, with 13.8 cases per 100,000 people between Aug. 12 and Aug. 25. Weeks back, the county ranked No. 86, with the same rate of cases per 100,000.

Gov. DeWine in July unveiled the Ohio Public Health Advisory Alert System, a new warning system that 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.

The following indicators determine at what level a county rests in the advisory 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.” According to the advisory system, Athens County has triggered two of the seven indicators under the alert system: proportion of cases that are not congregate cases and new cases increase.

Between Aug. 26 to Sept. 9, the county had a non-congregate percentage of cases of 100 percent. In addition, the county saw on Aug. 30 a seven-day case average of three cases.

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

No counties in Ohio are classified as Level 4, the most severe public health advisory. ODH recommends residents of these counties only leave home for supplies and essential services.

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