What happens if Hamilton Co. 'goes purple'? DeWine says county decides; county says it's up to him

Ohio Public Health Advisory System.jpg
Posted at 12:20 PM, Oct 28, 2020
and last updated 2020-10-28 19:34:20-04

CINCINNATI — As officials with Hamilton County face the potential of the county going "purple," according to the state's color-coded COVID-19 response levels, county officials said they will follow the governor's lead on how to respond to the "red tide of the virus."

“It’s expected that Hamilton County may reach purple on the state’s scale by Thursday,” county commissioner Denise Driehaus said. "It means whatever the governor says it means... If the governor decides to take more dramatic action in purple counties, we would be impacted by that.”

But DeWine said he is looking to county leaders to form a plan of attack for reducing COVID-19 spread and infection rates in their communities.

“It really is going to come down to each community taking charge and pushing back against this virus," DeWine said. "So far we have left it up to local school districts what’s in the best interest for their children.”

DeWine said in a briefing today he didn't anticipate another shutdown like the one the state saw earlier in the year.

Hamilton County going purple, according to the Ohio Department of Health, means "severe exposure and spread" of COVID-19. The department calls for people to only leave their homes for supplies and services and to follow all current health orders.

"The governor, along with the rest of us, is trying very hard to make sure that we don’t have to take dramatic measures due to the increase of COVID-19," Driehaus said. "The governor has the authority to say, ‘If you’re a purple county, X, Y, and Z might happen.'"

Ohio's public health advisory system will update Thursday at 2 p.m., and will include information on whether the county has reached the purple level.

“I have no authority over what the governor might do," Driehaus said. "He is hopeful that we will message out to the community in a way that people will change their behavior.”