COLUMBUS, Ohio — During the weekly update of Ohio’s Public Health Advisory System, Gov. Mike DeWine announced that two counties in Northeast Ohio have been moved up to red Level 3 while two other counties have been downgraded to orange Level 2 after previously being listed at Level 3.
Medina and Erie counties are now listed at Level 3 while Lorain and Summit counties were downgraded to Level 2. Cuyahoga and Richland counties remain at Level 3. As of Thursday, five counties in Northeast Ohio remain at yellow Level 1.
In Erie County, DeWine said that five of the COVID-19 data indicators have been flagged in the county, causing it to jump to Level 3. The county has seen an uptick in cases and an increase in emergency room visits among other indicators. Many cases have been linked to the Ohio Veterans Home as well as the ongoing outbreak from Put-in-Bay.
After three weeks sitting at Level 2 on the Public Health Advisory System, Medina County has been moved up to Level 3 after 74 cases were reported between July 6 and July 13—the highest number of cases the county has seen in a week since the pandemic began.
The governor said the surge in cases in Medina County has been traced to non-congregate areas, including weddings, graduation parties, out of state travel and travel to areas in the state experiencing outbreaks, including Put-in-Bay and Athens County.
DeWine said that many of the outbreaks across the state have been traced back to bars, as well as other specific events including a bus trip, a funeral and an event at a winery.
He also shared a particular case as a warning to those traveling from out of state, especially from areas experiencing COVID-19 surges.
DeWine said he and his team learned of two young women who had traveled to Texas became sick after driving back to Ohio. At that point in time, there were no orders for travelers to self-quarantine upon return to Ohio and the two did not voluntarily isolate when they returned.
One of the women had a headache but went to work at a nursing home after getting back to Ohio. She later tested positive for COVID-19, but she had already spread the virus in her place of work and that nursing home now has 30 COVID-19 cases, according to DeWine.
“We’re not trying to blame people, but we’re trying to illustrate how these occur and why it is important when people have symptoms and think there may be a problem, for them to be very, very careful,” DeWine said.
Lorain and Summit counties, while downgraded to Level 2, still remain close to the threshold to be listed at Level 3. DeWine said he is seeing the results of wearing a mask, the diligence to practice social distancing, frequently washing hands and reducing the interactions with people from different households helping those counties.