COLUMBUS, Ohio — Three counties in Northeast Ohio and 18 total in Ohio were ranked at red Level 3 on the state’s Public Health Advisory System, Gov. Mike DeWine announced in a press conference on Thursday.
Portage, Mahoning and Trumbull counties were all listed at red Level 3 this week.
Portage County returned to red this week. On Oct. 12, DeWine said Kent State University will partner with CVS Health to provide free testing for students, teachers and faculty.
Kent State University will also begin randomly testing 400 students each week to better understand the spread of the virus that does not only affect the students but the older population in the community, according to DeWine.
Community spread was also a factor in the increased ranking, DeWine said.
Mahoning County was listed at red Level 3 first time due to multiple outbreaks, including at an out-of-state wedding with 18 cases across states and counties, two separate funerals, a birthday party and at a group home. Family units and extended family units have also seen outbreaks in Mahoning County.
Trumbull was last red on Aug. 20, and moved from yellow to red this week. The increased ranking was attributed to an outbreak of 22 cases stemming from a school sporting event. The outbreak involved 11 players, three coaches, one who was hospitalized, and expanded to four students not on the team and four parents. There’s at least one case in a third of the school districts in the county.
There were 18 total countries listed at red Level 3 this week, the highest number since July 23, DeWine said.
In half of the new red counties, the outbreaks were traced to funerals and weddings.
DeWine cited an outbreak at a wedding with a lot of people in Ohio, but declined to specify where. The governor said that two of the grandparents of the couple that was married died as a result of COVID-19 they contracted at the wedding.
As of this week, 96% of Ohioans are living in a red or orange county—26% in the 18 red counties, 70% in the orange counties and just 4% in the 12 yellow counties, DeWine said.
The governor urged those who get sick to report to the local health department so that contact tracing can be completed and outbreaks contained.
There were 58 counties that were listed at orange Level 2, the highest number of counties at that ranking since the system was created.
The virus is spreading in more areas of the state and impacting a wider swath of Ohioans. Local health departments tell us this is due to lax social distancing, not enough people wearing masks, and people not following quarantine and isolation guidance.— Governor Mike DeWine (@GovMikeDeWine) October 8, 2020