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State Develops Advisory System To Track Spread Of COVID-19 County-By-County

Gov. Mike DeWine (R-Ohio)
Office of Gov. Mike DeWine
Gov. Mike DeWine (R-Ohio)

The state is rolling out a new public health advisory system to identify counties experiencing a higher spread of coronavirus. Gov. Mike DeWine hopes the new notification system can drive policies to help mitigate the spread of COVID-19.

The new system tracks indicators of COVID-19 spread, such as new cases per capita and sustained increases of hospital admissions.

If a county hits several indicators then the state issues an alert ranging from levels 1 to 4.

Level 1 - Active exposure and spread

Level 2 - Increased exposure and spread

Level 3 - Very high exposure and spread

Level 4 - Severe exposure and spread

So far seven counties are on a Level 3 public emergency, those counties are; Butler, Cuyahoga, Franklin, Hamilton, Huron, Montgomery, and Trumbull.

DeWine hopes this advisory system encourages people to practice social distance and wear masks.

"I think it should fire people up. I think it should get people excited and say 'Hey, we're tougher than this. We are not going to let this happen to our state. We are not going to be Florida. We are not going to be Texas. We are not going to be Italy. We are not going to let this happen," says DeWine.

Watch: DeWine discusses Ohio's new Public Health Advisory System

The state is using seven indicators to track the level of exposure and spread of COVID-19:

  1. New cases per capita
  2. Sustained increase new cases
  3. Proportion of cases in non-congregate setting
  4. Sustained Increase in ER visits
  5. Sustained Increase Outpatient
  6. Sustained Increase New COVID-19 Hospital admissions
  7. ICU Occupancy

"This thing could go one way or the other. And we can control it collectively by what we do every single day. So this is a crisis, we cannot describe it any other way. Wear a mask, keep a distance, be careful, be smart," says DeWine.

The governor commends city leaders in Dayton and Columbus who are requiring masks and says he's still ready to make statewide orders if needed.

Copyright 2021 The Statehouse News Bureau. To see more, visit The Statehouse News Bureau.

Andy Chow is a general assignment state government reporter who focuses on environmental, energy, agriculture, and education-related issues. He started his journalism career as an associate producer with ABC 6/FOX 28 in Columbus before becoming a producer with WBNS 10TV.