Some counties show improvement in latest COVID-19 map

Published 12:44 am Saturday, September 5, 2020

DeWine announces school reporting system

Twelve counties showed improvement in the state’s latest COVID-19 alert map, which was updated on Thursday.

A total of 67 counties stayed at the same level as the previous week, and 12 counties moved from Orange Level Two to Yellow Level One, the lowest in the four-tier system, making the total number in that designation 39 counties.

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Lawrence County, as well as neighboring Scioto, Jackson and Gallia counties, remained at Orange Level Two.

Gov. Mike DeWine also announced details on Thursday for the state’s planned case reporting order for K-12 schools.

Starting Tuesday, parents or guardians and school staff should notify their school within 24 hours of receiving a positive test or a clinical diagnosis. Within 24 hours after receiving that notification, the school should notify other parents and guardians about that case in writing, providing as much information as possible without releasing protected health information.

The school must also notify their local health department within 24 hours.

“As I have said before, just because a school may have positive cases among its students or staff, that does not mean the school did anything wrong,” DeWine said. “Schools can’t control what happens out in the community where someone may have contracted the virus.”

Beginning Tuesday, local health departments will report the number of newly reported and cumulative cases to the Ohio Department of Health. The Ohio Department of Health will publish this data by school or school district, including a breakdown by students and staff, each Thursday. Reports will be taken each week from local health departments.

“We understand there is a balance between privacy and transparency, and we do not intend for protected health information to be released in our effort to provide information to Ohioans so they can make the right decisions for their family,” DeWine said. “Please remember that if a school has positive cases among their students or staff, it does not mean the school did anything wrong. Schools cannot control spread in the community, so it is important to practice safety measures not only in the classroom but also when you’re out in the community.”

The order will also require each school district or school to identify a COVID-19 coordinator to facilitate the reporting of case information, and upon request, schools or buildings are required to provide the local health department a copy of their pandemic plan.

DeWine also urged people to continue to follow safe practices regarding the virus during the Labor Day holiday weekend.

“It’s not about where we go, but rather, what we do when we get there,” DeWine said. “It’s about how we act when we’re with family and friends and what precautions we take. The decisions we make as we celebrate the unofficial end of summer will play a major role in how we begin the fall.”