TIFFIN — Seneca County is currently sitting at Level 2 (orange) under Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine’s new Public Health Advisory System.
During his news conference Thursday, DeWine unveiled a new 4-tier alert system that provides guidelines on the severity of spread of the novel coronavirus in each county of the state.
Level 2 indicates that there is increased exposure and spread of the coronavirus in the community. Residents of these counties are encouraged to exercise a high degree of caution and follow all current health orders.
Seneca County’s neighbor to the east, Huron County, is sitting at Level 3 (red), indicating very high exposure and spread, while its neighbor to the west, Wood County, is sitting at Level 2 (orange). All other counties surrounding Seneca are currently at Level 1 (yellow).
DeWine said the new alert system is the result of discussions about needing to look at counties individually, rather than the state as a whole, when making public health decisions amid the novel coronavirus pandemic.
The four levels of the Public Health Advisory System are 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
- Sustained increase in new COVID-19 hospital admissions
- Intensive Care Unit (ICU) bed occupancy
Counties at Level 1 (yellow) have no or one indicator. There are 53 counties at Level 1 as of Thursday.
Level 2 counties (orange) have two to three indicators. There are 28 counties at Level 2.
Counties at Level 3 (red) have four to five indicators, and there are 7 counties at that level.
Level 4 counties (purple) have six or seven indicators. There are currently no counties at Level 4, but Gov. DeWine said Franklin County is being watched because it is close to hitting the six or seven indicators mark.
Regardless of the Alert Level — I want to highlight two important additional points: 1️⃣ High-risk individuals (roughly 60% of Ohio’s population) are at an increased risk of severe illness and should take every precaution to guard against contracting #COVID19. pic.twitter.com/18uyPf1T7z
— Governor Mike DeWine (@GovMikeDeWine) July 2, 2020
Also on Thursday, DeWine said his administration is strongly encouraging that students, grade 3 and up, wear masks when schools are back in classrooms this fall.
DeWine said state guidelines will require school staff to wear face masks or face shields during the school day.