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Jackson County alert level downgraded to Orange Level Two

State sees improvements overall in COVID-19 statistics

COLUMBUS — While Lawrence County remains at Red Level Three on the latest update of the state’s COVID-19 map, neighboring Jackson County saw an improvement and its alert level downgraded to Orange Level Two.

It was part of an overall improvement for the state in the update, announced by Gov. Mike DeWine on Thursday.

“Ten counties are dropping a level this week,” DeWine said. “Six counties moved from red to orange as their cases per capita dropped below 100 over two weeks. There also are four counties moving from orange to yellow because their cases per capita dropped to below 50.”

Lawrence County has been at Level Three since Oct. 8. The 22 weeks are its second stint at that designation.

Lawrence County is still listed with an “H” designation, indicating high incidence of the virus. Among neighboring counties, Scioto, which also remains at Level Three, shares that distinction, while Gallia and Jackson, at Level Two, do not.

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 also said Ohio’s case levels continue to trend down as well, with the number standing at 143.8 per 100,000 people.

“This is good news,” DeWine said. “It wasn’t too long ago that Ohio was in the 700s.”

DeWine has said when case levels reach 50 per 100,000 people, health orders related to the pandemic will be lifted.

Last week, the rate was at 156 cases per 100,000, down from more than 900 cases per 100,000 on New Year’s Day.

While conditions have improved, the governor said it was important for state residents to keep following the guidelines in order to stay safe and see more improvement.

“As numbers continue to improve, it’s important to continue following safety protocols like wearing your mask and social distancing,” he said.

DeWine said there had also been improvements in the state’s long-term care facilities this week.

“(They) reported just 70 new COVID-19 cases,” he said. “Compare that with the 157 new cases reported the previous week, and the 2,832 new cases reported at the peak of the pandemic in December. In addition to wearing masks, social distancing and cleaning, there is no doubt of the significant impact vaccination is having on protecting nursing home residents and preventing severe illness and death among those most targeted by the virus.”