CLEVELAND — Health officials in Lorain and Lake counties responded Thursday after Gov. Mike DeWine placed both counties on the Purple Level 4 watch list for severe exposure and spread of COVID-19.
In a statement, David Covell, health commissioner at Lorain County Public Health, urged residents to step up COVID-19 prevention efforts.
“It’s the time to put others above our own wishes and traditions. This is the year to sacrifice a little during the holiday season,” said Covell. “It’s more important than ever that each person gets serious about COVID-19 precautions.”
Covell reiterated residents should take the following steps to prevent the spread of the virus:
Stay home as much as possible.
- Support local businesses in a safe manner.
- Shop using online orders or curbside pick-up.
- If you do go out, wear a mask around people who you don’t live with.
- Avoid gathering with people who you don’t live with.
- Make an extra effort to protect high-risk family and friends. They’re worth protecting.
- If you do attend a gathering, follow our holiday season guide. Wear masks, wash hands, and keep 6 feet apart (or more).
- Avoid traveling this holiday season - stay home for the holidays.
- Stay home when sick.
- Stay home if you’re a positive case in isolation.
- Stay home if you’re a close contact in quarantine.
- Employers and agencies: double check your processes and policies.
- Transition as many transactions and functions as possible to an online format.
- Continue to follow all safety guidance and meet the requirements in state orders.
- Identify and accommodate as many employees as possible to work from home.
- Places of worship: Follow prevention protocols and consider postponing any social events.
- Schools: Continue following strict protocols and safe behaviors.
Ron Graham, commissioner of the Lake County Health District, said his health department is responding with more over-time hours to help identify and contact trace a growing number of cases.
Graham said moving to "purple status" will not trigger any new advisories, but he wants residents to make additional changes in their daily social habits to slow the current coronavirus peak and reduce the burden on our local hospital system.
In response to the change in risk level status, LCGHD made the following recommendations to businesses and residents:
All individuals are advised to stay at home and only leave home as necessary for:
- Health and safety (seeking services and/or obtaining medication or medical supplies, including for pets)
- Going to work
- Obtaining necessary supplies and services,
- Outdoor activity (walking, hiking, running, biking, walking the dog, going to the park)
- Providing care for others in need.
- Community events and activities are recommended to be canceled or postponed.
- All individuals are advised to avoid hosting or attending events and gatherings of any size, including social gatherings and family get-togethers.
- Schools are strongly encouraged to implement a transition plan where all students and teachers engage in virtual-only classes, activities, and events.
- Lake County workplaces are strongly encouraged to allow as many employees as possible to work from home via teleworking and video conferencing.
- Individuals are advised to seek medical care as needed, but are strongly encouraged to engage in telehealth whenever possible and avoid all unnecessary in-person visits.
Both counties are spiking in six of seven key COVID-19 indicators over the past two weeks and could be elevated to purple alert sometime next week.
Franklin County was the first county in the state that was given a Purple Level 4 designation—the highest on the advisory alert, and it’s for counties where residents have the highest risk of exposure to the coronavirus.