Coronavirus: Montgomery, Clark counties at level 3, Butler drops to level 2

The news comes on the day Ohio starts a mandatory mask order

Clark County moved up to level 3 and Butler County dropped down to level 2, according to data released by Gov. Mike DeWine. Montgomery County remained at level 3, where it has been since the advsiory system was announced earlier this month.

Clark was one of eight new counties joining level 3. It was the first time Clark was at level 3.

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It was the first time Butler County dropped to level 2 after weeks of staying at level 3. Two weeks ago it was on the watch list for level 3 counties at risk of moving up to level 4.

While Butler County dropped down to level 2, or orange, DeWine said the county meets that CDC definition of moderately-high incidence of coronavirus and that it almost meets the definition for high incidence.

Over the last 14 days, Clark County had 113 coronavirus cases identified, which is roughly 12% of the county’s total number of cases since the pandemic started. Some of the outbreaks in the count have been traced back to youth sports and long-term care facilities. A faith-based outbreak resulted in 19 cases, the governor said.

There were 23 counties at level 3 in the state. Allen County is on the watch list and is at risk of moving to level 4.

Champaign, Miami, Preble, Greene and Warren counties are at level 2.

Level 1 counties in the region include Darke and Shelby counties.

Between June 15 and July 18, 1.3% of people, or 436 people out of 33,538, who donated blood, plasma or platelets to the American Red Cross tested positive for coronavirus antibodies, said Lt. Gov. Jon Husted. The number is just below the nationwide positivity rate of 1.4%.

Husted noted that Red Cross data doesn’t represent all parts of Ohio equally. The Dayton and Cincinnati area are served by two independent blood banks.

The lieutenant governor also announced a request for information for pricing from internet providers for laptops, tablets and hotspots to help Ohio schools continue to teach children during the pandemic. Husted noted that many students will return to class this fall, some, such as those with medical conditions, will stay home due to the pandemic.

The state will be setting aside $50 million from state funding through the CARES Act to provide internet hotpsots and internet-enabled devices to students.

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Ohio has passed the 80,000 mark in total coronavirus cases reported throughout the pandemic.

There were 1,444 new cases in the last 24 hours for a total of 80,186 cases, according to the Ohio Department of Health. Twenty-one deaths were reported Thursday, bringing the total to 3,256.

The ODH is reporting 75,819 confirmed cases and 2,997 confirmed deaths.

Hospitalizations went up 104 admissions and ICU admissions increased by 17. There have been 9,968 hospitalizations and 2,403 ICU admissions reported.

Yesterday, DeWine announced an updated public health order that expanded a face mask mandated to all 88 counties in Ohio. Previously, the order only applied to counties at level 3 or 4, meaning they have a high risk of coronavirus exposure and spread.

The updated order goes into effect at 6 p.m. tonight.

When asked about why he waited until now to issue a statewide mask mandate Thursday, DeWine said earlier it didn’t seem the public was ready.

He added that initially health officials advised against masks, but as information about the virus has evolved the response also has to change.

“We are at a point now where I think people will accept this,” he said. “It’s the right thing to do.”

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