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Ohio COVID-19 cases plateauing again

Gallia moves to Yellow Level One alert

COLUMBUS — The rate of COVID-19 cases in the state appears to be leveling off, Gov. Mike DeWine said on Thursday.

The statewide rate fell to 187,000 per 100, cases, he said, after showing an increase the prior two weeks.

Cases had been in steady decline for most of this year, down from 900 per 100,000 on New Year’s Day.

However, after reaching a low of 144 per 100,000 in early April, the number began rising, hitting 200 per 100,000 people last week.

“It’s still a high rate, but it’s certainly not going up and we’re seeing certainly a very significant leveling off,” DeWine said at his news conference.

The governor has said health orders, such as mask mandates would be lifted in the state when the rate falls to 50 cases per 100,000 people.

DeWine said on Wednesday that his office is considering looking into the amending the goal to lift orders and considering alternative metrics.

“We are actually looking at that. We don’t have anything to announce, but we are looking at that,” DeWine said. “We’re looking at any kind of measures that would tell people kind of where we’re going and what we have to achieve.”

In the state’s COVID-19 alert map, Franklin County remained at Purple Level Four for the second week, the most severe designation on the four-tier system.

Locally, Lawrence and neighboring Scioto and Jackson counties were listed at Orange Level Two, while Gallia County moved to Yellow Level One.

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.