COLUMBUS, Ohio — Four new counties have been increased from "Orange" Level 2 to "Red" Level 3 on the state’s Public Health Advisory System, including Stark and Ashland counties in Northeast Ohio, Gov. Mike DeWine announced during his COVID-19 briefing on Thursday.
Stark and Ashland counties joined Mercer, Delaware, Butler, Montgomery, Putnam, Pike and Scioto counties at Level 3 on the advisory system.
Ashland County sits at Level 3 for the first time since the advisory system was created.
DeWine cited the reasons for the increased level included a sustained increase in new cases over the last two weeks, an increase in outpatient visits for COVID-19 and small outbreaks at long-term care facilities and social gatherings such as weddings.
Stark County, which is also at Level 3 for the first time, was increased due to sustained increase in new cases and an increase in outpatient visits for COVID-19.
A Stark County elementary school contributed to the increased ranking after having to close for a week due to the amount of student and staff absences.
While two Northeast Ohio counties increased in their ranking to Red on the Public Health Advisory System, Portage County was decreased from Red Level 3 to Orange Level 2.