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Portage Co. moves up to red level 3; new cases driven by off-campus, Greek activities, DeWine says

Bucks trend of fewer 'Red' counties statewide
Kent State
Posted at 3:48 PM, Sep 17, 2020
and last updated 2020-09-17 15:59:22-04

COLUMBUS, Ohio — Portage County was one of two counties in the state that moved up to "Red" Level 3 on the state’s Public Health Advisory System, with new cases driven by activity at off-campus housing and Greek housing at Kent State University, Gov. Mike DeWine said on Thursday.

The county’s average daily cases have increased from an average of 5.5 on August 26 to almost 11 on Sept. 4, DeWine said. The county also saw an increase in average daily outpatient visits from an average of six on Sept. 10 to an average of nine one week later.

“The majority of cases are being driven by activities in off-campus housing and to a lesser degree, Greek housing,” DeWine said. So far this month, 51% of Portage County’s cases are in people younger than 29.

Kent State University is changing operating procedures to decrease in-person interactions and limit gatherings, university officials said in a news release. Starting Friday, campus dining locations will serve takeout only, and only KSU students who live on campus will be allowed to enter the university’s residence halls.

Public Health Advisory Map as of 9/17

This week, only five counties — Butler, Mercer, Montgomery, Portage and Putnam — were in red Level 3, the lowest number since the state health department established the Public Health Advisory System. However, 11 counties moved from yellow to orange, and the number of counties exceeding the CDC’s threshold for high case incidence has grown from 17 to 21.

Summit County dropped from red Level 3 to yellow Level 1.

Based on the number of cases per capita over the last two weeks, no Northeast Ohio counties were in the top 20 list of counties with highest COVID-19 occurrence.

Top 20 counties by highest COVID-19 case occurrence per capita, as of Sept. 17.