Stark, Ashland counties raised to red level for coronavirus

COLUMBUS, Ohio (WJW)– Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine released the latest color-coded map of the state showing a state’s risk for coronavirus on Thursday.

In Northeast Ohio, Ashland and Stark counties were raised to the red level of the Ohio Public Health Advisory System for the first time, while Portage County was lowered to orange.

Ashland County saw a sustained increase of new cases and outpatient visits for COVID-19-like symptoms. Ashland University lists 15 positive cases. According to the governor, there are small outbreaks tied to workplaces and long-term care facilities.

Stark County had 197 new cases in the last two weeks and an increase in outpatient visits. The health department there reported an elementary school closed for a week because of absences and not enough staff because of the virus.

Last week, a majority of cases in Portage County were tied to activities at off-campus and Greek housing at Kent State University. University and city health officials asked students to avoid parties and limit interactions for two weeks to help lower the county’s risk.

The Ohio Public Health Advisory System examines the following factors: new cases per capita, sustained increase in new cases, proportion of cases that are not in congregate settings, sustained increase in COVID-19-related emergency room visits, sustained increase in COVID-19 outpatient visits including telehealth, sustained increase in COVID-19 hospital admissions and intensive care unit occupancy.

Yellow or Level One: County has triggered zero or one of the indicators. 

Orange or Level Two: County has triggered two or three indicators.

Red or Level Three: County has triggered four or five indicators. 

Purple or Level Four: County has triggered six or seven indicators.

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