After spending the early weeks of Ohio’s COVID-19 alert system in the Yellow, or the lowest category, Pike County finds itself in the Red once again this week.

Officially, Pike County has been rated at a Red Level 3 Public Emergency, Very high exposure and spread, for COVID-19, by the Ohio Public Health Advisory System for the second straight week.

According to the Pike County General Health District, four indicators were triggered, resulting in this week’s rating. The state of Ohio changes the ratings every Thursday.

The following post was shared on the Health District’s Facebook page on Thursday, Oct. 1:

”Pike County will remain in the Red category on the alert system today. Below are the key data points:

Pike County (169.2 cases per 100,000 residents in past 2 weeks)

High Incidence — we are still at 4 indicators:

• Indicator 1 — New cases per capita

• Indicator 2 — Sustained increase in new cases (1.6 average cases on 9/9 to 5.7 by 9/19)

• Indicator 3 — Proportion of cases not in a congregate setting

• Indicator 5 — Sustained increase in outpatient visits for COVID-like illness (1.3 average visits on 9/9 to 3.7 on 9/16)

Although we are remaining RED this week due to data pulled from 9/9 to 9/19, the data over the past 7 days for sustained increase in new cases is improving and trending in the right direction — so please keep doing your part!

*Refer to the Level 3 Section on the Ohio COVID-19 Risk Level Guidelines for the Public

We would like to remind everyone to continue to take preventative measures by practicing social distancing (6 feet apart), washing your hands frequently, avoid touching your face, and wearing a facial covering in public settings. Please avoid large gatherings and if attending a large gathering, do your best to maintain social distancing and wear a facial covering while indoors — and outdoors if social distancing cannot be maintained. Most importantly — if you or your child feel sick, please stay home and seek guidance from a health care professional.”

Following this post, the Pike County General Health District responded to a question asked by an individual. The individual asked, “Why is the data period this week from 9/9-9/19, when last week it was from 9/6-9/16?”

The Pike County General Health District followed with this response, “Great question — we also asked for clarification since it looked like we should have only triggered, 1, 3, and 5 — not 2. Here was the answer from ODH: ‘Yes, most of the indicators look back 3 weeks. The reasoning behind this is that there is a lag in reporting that means that last 14 days may be artificially low. That data will fill in over the next week or two. This is why you sometimes see that first week higher when it wasn’t high in the previous week’s alert run when it was the middle week.’

Pike County isn’t alone in its red status, as it is joined by 10 other Ohio counties.

When Governor DeWine released Ohio’s updated Public Health Advisory System map on Thursday, new health data compiled by the Ohio Department of Health found that 11 counties currently have a very high risk of exposure and spread (Level 3): Ashland, Butler, Clermont, Hamilton, Mercer, Montgomery, Muskingum, Pike, Putnam, Richland, and Scioto. Richland County is on the borderline of a Level 4 public emergency with severe exposure and spread.

“We have 11 red counties, which is more than we’ve seen at any point in September,” said Governor DeWine. “Although many Ohioans are working hard to keep this virus in check, unfortunately, we are seeing a rebound in some areas of the state. This pandemic isn’t over, so please continue to stay home if you’re sick, wear a mask when you’re out, and keep at least six feet between you and those outside of your household.”

On Friday afternoon, the Pike County General Health District reported that there were four new cases in the county and three individuals who have recovered. The total of active cases is 27.

Since COVID-19 tracking began, Pike County has had 233 cases with 174 of those being confirmed and 49 being probable, which includes positive antibody tests and positive rapid tests. A total of 196 people are listed as recovered. There were no hospitalizations on Friday. A total of 138 people are being monitored, while 557 have completed their monitoring. Of the 223 cases, 129 have been females, while 94 have been males in an age range of 2 to 87 years old.

Email at jbillings@newswatchman.com; follow on Twitter @ Julie_Billings

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