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COVID-19 Update: Eight Counties Increase
to Red Alert Level Three, Importance of Self-Quarantines, Broadband Expansion

(COLUMBUS, Ohio)—Ohio Governor Mike DeWine and Lt. Governor Jon Husted today provided the following updates on Ohio's response to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

UPDATED COUNTY RISK LEVELS

Governor DeWine announced today that new public health data has led the Ohio Department of Health to designate 23 counties as being in a Red Alert Level 3 Public Emergency as defined by the Ohio Public Health Advisory System

Upgraded to Level 3:

  • Clark

  • Defiance

  • Erie

  • Hardin

  • Henry

  • Lawrence

  • Marion

  • Medina

Continuing at Level 3: 

  • Athens

  • Allen*

  • Clermont

  • Cuyahoga

  • Delaware

  • Fairfield

  • Franklin

  • Hamilton

  • Licking

  • Lucas

  • Montgomery

  • Pickaway

  • Richland

  • Scioto

  • Union

Downgraded to Level 2:

  • Butler

  • Lorain

  • Summit

  • Wood

Allen County is also on Ohio's Watch List because it is closely nearing Purple Alert Level 4.

Franklin and Licking counties, despite meeting fewer indicators, remain at Red Alert Level 3 due to meeting the CDC guidelines for high incidence of COVID-19. 

Butler, Lorain, Summit, and Wood counties were downgraded to Orange Alert Level 2, 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 3 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 goes into effect at 6:00 tonight.

IMPORTANCE OF SELF-QUARANTINES

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."

BROADBAND EXPANSION

Lt. Governor Jon Husted today announced the next steps in OhioBroadband’s plans to expand broadband access across the state.

In an effort to provide schools with the ability to search, review and compare prices for purchasing hotspots and equipment, a Request for Information (RFI) will be issued to internet providers for everything from hotspots to laptops to tablets.

Respondents to the RFI will need to provide the specific equipment they have available, number of units available, price, and amount of time it would take to implement an order. This RFI will be specific to K-12 plans and will be housed in a single location, giving every school district a chance to compare what is available and make the best decision for their district and their students.

Additionally, pending upcoming Controlling Board approval, schools can apply for a dollar to dollar matching grant program with the state for hotspots, in-home internet, and internet-enabled devices to students. This funding will be facilitated through the federal CARES Act and will total $50 million. Schools will have the flexibility to use the funding through a connectivity plan that makes the most sense for their student population and district.

The Lt. Governor also announced the launch of a new E-Permitting system through InnovateOhio and the Ohio Department of Transportation. The new system fulfills a goal outlined in the December 2019, Ohio Broadband Strategy, and replaces a paper-only right-of-way permitting system with an online process that is more convenient for permit requesters and is expected to reallocate 24,000 hours of labor per year.

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

Video of today's full update, including versions with foreign language translation, can be viewed on the Ohio Channel's YouTube page

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
August 4, 2020

MEDIA CONTACTS:
Dan Tierney: 614-644-0957
Breann Almos: 614-799-6480

COVID-19 Update: Masks in Schools,
Rapid Testing, Community Spread and Spread from Faith-Based Settings, Dr. Amy Acton

(COLUMBUS, Ohio)—Ohio Governor Mike DeWine and Lt. Governor Jon Husted today provided the following updates on the status of the state's response to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

MASKS IN SCHOOLS

Governor DeWine announced today that the Ohio Department of Health will issue a health order requiring that K-12 children wear face coverings while at school. The new mandate comes after the Ohio Children's Hospital Association and American Academy of Pediatrics Ohio Chapter issued a joint letter today recommending widespread use of masks in schools with the following exceptions: 

  1. Children under the age of 2 years old

  2. Any child unable to remove the face covering without assistance

  3. A child with a significant behavioral/psychological issue undergoing treatment that is exacerbated specifically by the use of a facial covering (e.g. severe anxiety or a tactile aversion)

  4. A child living with severe autism or with extreme developmental delay who may become agitated or anxious wearing a mask

  5. A child with a facial deformity that causes airway obstruction

"Without a vaccine, we are limited in the ways that we can protect the people of Ohio," said Governor DeWine. "For schools to have a fighting chance to stay open this fall, widespread face coverings for K-12 students will increase the odds that kids will go to school and stay in school." 

RAPID TESTING MULTI-STATE PURCHASING AGREEMENT

Governor DeWine announced that Ohio is entering into a multi-state purchasing agreement with Maryland, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Michigan, and Virginia to expand the use of rapid point-of-care tests. 

"Over the past week, we have conducted an average of 22,334 COVID-19 tests a day with Ohio's current testing procedure, but rapid point-of-care tests are faster, simpler, and less expensive," said Governor DeWine. "Expanding the use of this testing will serve as an important screening tool and a critical addition to our plan to limit the spread of COVID-19."

More rapid point-of-care testing will help Ohio detect outbreaks sooner with faster turnaround time, expand testing in congregate settings, and make testing more accessible for the most high-risk and hard-hit communities.

COMMUNITY SPREAD

Governor DeWine today also continued to warn Ohioans about community spread connected to informal gatherings between family and friends. 

"The truth is that it is easier to be scared of a stranger than a friend. Maintaining social distance and choosing to not gather together is really a sign that you care about your loved ones," Governor DeWine said. 

New data compiled by the Ohio Department of Health shows the amount of community spread per county over the past two weeks. 

 

LETTER TO FAITH-BASED COMMUNITY

Governor DeWine today announced that he will send a letter to Ohio's faith-based community to share important health information with Ohio churches, synagogues, and mosques and to share ways to better protect their worshipers.

One case study shows that a man with COVID-19 attended a church service in Ohio, and following that service, 91 additional people from five counties developed symptoms. 

"I know that our faith-based leaders want nothing more than to protect their worshipers, but we also know that the virus can easily spread in places where people gather," said Governor DeWine. "It is vital that, any time people gather together, everyone wear masks, practice social distancing, wash hands, and while indoors, making sure there is good ventilation and airflow."

 

DR. AMY ACTON:

Governor DeWine announced that Dr. Amy Acton, Ohio's former director of the Ohio Department of Health, has decided to leave state employment and return to her role at the Columbus Foundation, where she worked previously.

"While it saddens me that she will be leaving my office, she has assured me that she is just a phone call away and will be available to continue advising us as we move through this pandemic," said Governor DeWine. 

CURRENT COVID-19 DATA: 

There are 95,106 confirmed and probable cases of COVID-19 in Ohio and 3,570 confirmed and probable COVID-19 deaths. A total of 11,119 people have been hospitalized, including 2,593 admissions to intensive care units. In-depth data can be accessed by visiting coronavirus.ohio.gov

Video of today's full update, including versions with foreign language translation, can be viewed on the Ohio Channel's YouTube page

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

(330) 552-8956

1103 7th St NE

Canton, OH 44704

  USA

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