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Ben Asks a Question: How does COVID risk vary by county?

DeWine unveils new way to monitor case numbers
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Posted at 6:25 PM, Jul 02, 2020
and last updated 2020-07-02 18:51:06-04

COLUMBUS, Ohio — As Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine announced new guidelines for reopening schools in the state during Thursday’s COVID-19 press briefing, the state continues to monitor a rise in cases in a number of counties.

After outlining his administration’s guidelines regarding schools reopening in the fall on Thursday, DeWine then shifted to speak on the rise of COVID-19 cases around the state, saying “our data team thinks all 88 counties [in Ohio] have community spread.”

Due to time restrictions I was unable to ask DeWine a question on Thursday. However the governor still provided plenty of new information during the day’s briefing -- such as a promise to soon include statistics involving contact tracing and percent positivity in online reports.

Ben Asks a Question is a feature we started as a way to help give you a voice during Gov. Mike DeWine's daily press briefings. Since then, Ben has gotten hundreds of questions a day. If you'd like to ask a question, find us on Facebook and feel free to message us there, or send us an email at newsdesk@wcpo.com.

DeWine then continued to speak on the “alert level” ranking all counties in the state have now been given -- with level one meaning there is active community spread in the county, through level four, meaning there is “severe exposure and spread” in the area.

As of Thursday, both Hamilton and Butler counties are considered to be at “level 3 alert,” meaning there is “very high exposure and spread” of COVID-19 in the area.

“There are currently seven Ohio counties at level three,” said DeWine. “In these counties, risk is very high. Ohioans should limit activities as much as possible. Wear a mask when you do go out, for sure. Consider online options, perhaps even for church services. Many cases of community spread are present in these counties. There are typically multiple outbreaks at any given time in different settings such as workplaces, social settings, long-term care facilities. COVID hospitalizations, for both ICU and non-ICU stays are trending up in some of these counties. Again, all current health orders and sector-specific guidance must continue to be followed.”

DeWine continued to tell Ohioans living in level three counties to follow the guidelines outlined for levels one and two as well, while also encouraging people to avoid gatherings.

“Consider necessary travel only,” said DeWine. “Only necessary travel out of your house, and limit attending gatherings of any kind.”

DeWine says the state will update their county alert level map every week on Wednesday. The map can be found here on the state’s coronavirus website. DeWine is next set to address the public on Tuesday, July 7.