State COVID-19 map continues at mostly red

Published 3:20 pm Friday, December 18, 2020

COLUMBUS — While the number of purple counties dropped to one this week, the bulk of Ohio remains at Red Level Three on the state’s update of its COVID-19 alert map, released on Thursday.

Richland was the sole county continuing at the most severe designation on the four-tier system, while four counties, Gallia, Vinton, Hocking and Monroe, were listed at Orange Level Two. No counties were at the lowest alert, Yellow Level One, and 83 of the state’s 88 counties were at Red Level Three.

Lawrence County was listed at Red Level Three for the eleventh week in a row, its second stint at the designation since the system was implemented in the summer.

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The system, compiled by the Ohio Department of Health, is determined by seven data indicators — New cases per capita, sustained increase in new cases, proportion of cases not congregate cases, sustained increase in emergency room visits, sustained increase in outpatient visits and sustained increase in new COVID-19 hospital admissions — that identify the risk level for each county and a corresponding color code to represent that risk level.

DeWine said every county in Ohio is at three times what the U.S. Centers for Disease Control consider to be high incidence for the virus.

DeWine also said that schools in Ohio have been pulling back on in-person learning as the pandemic worsens across the nation.

“We’re seeing more schools that were open five days a week start to pull back because of the spread of COVID-19 in the community,” he said.

He said 27.9 percent of Ohio’s students are taking part in in-person learning, 45.2 percent are full in remote learning and 26.1 percent are taking part in a blended learning system.