Coronavirus: What would a purple Level 4 alert mean?

Gov. Mike DeWine announced Thursday, Oct. 22, that three counties — Clark, Hamilton and Cuyahoga — are on a watch list because they are at risk of reaching the highest alert level on the Ohio Public Health Advisory System.

Thursday also marked the fifth time the state has broken the its daily coronavirus case record within 10 days.

The purple level 4 means there is “severe exposure and spread” of COVID-19. Since the state launched the advisory system in early July, no county has reached the highest level on the color-coded scale.

However, the state does not impose further restrictions on counties based on the alert level. The governor said the purple level 4 guidance is to stay home except for necessary travel to get supplies and services.

Clark, Cuyahoga and Hamilton counties are on a watch list because they already meet the threshold for level 4 now. The counties that meet six of seven indicators again next week would be moved up to purple level 4.

The seven indicators measured are: new cases per capita; sustained increase in new cases; proportion of cases not in a congregate setting; sustained increase in emergency department visits for COVID-like illness; sustained increase in outpatient visits for COVID-like illness; sustained increase in new COVID hospital admissions; and intensive care unit bed occupancy.

DeWine said it’s “alarming” that 38 of Ohio’s 88 counties are in the red alert level 3, which he said was “close to half the state” in a Thursday post on his Twitter account.

“This is an increase from 29 red counties last week,” he said during his afternoon update on the coronavirus situation.

Ohio’s cases are mostly due to community spread, and DeWine said Thursday it’s time for people to take the pandemic seriously and to follow all of the health guidelines such as wearing masks, social distancing, frequent handwashing and avoiding gatherings.

BY THE NUMBERS (as of Oct. 22)

Level 3 (red)

Butler County: 8,276 cases; 471 hospitalizations; 129 deaths

Clark County: 2,494 cases; 155 hospitalizations; 56 deaths

Greene County: 2,292 cases; 179 hospitalizations; 42 deaths

Montgomery County: 10,377 cases; 1,161 hospitalizations, 189 deaths

Warren County: 4,200 cases; 281 hospitalizations; 64 deaths

Level 2 (orange)

Champaign County: 398 cases; 32 hospitalizations; 3 deaths

Darke County: 1,144 cases; 106 hospitalizations; 51 deaths

Logan County: 423 cases; 29 hospitalizations; 3 deaths

Miami County: 1,999 cases; 180 hospitalizations; 58 deaths

Preble County: 624 cases; 79 hospitalizations; 18 deaths

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