Ohio Public Health Advisory System

Ohio Public Health Advisory System, as of Thursday, Aug. 6. Image provided.

Pike County has now been moved from a Yellow (Level 1 Public Emergency, Active Exposure and Spread) to an Orange (Level 2 Public Emergency, Increased exposure and spread) rating, according to the Ohio Public Health Advisory System.

Many rural counties in this area and around the state are now in Orange territory. As of Thursday, Pike County has now triggered three indicators as defined by the Ohio Public Health Advisory System, according to the Ohio Department of Health (ODH), including new cases per capita, new cases increase, and cases in non-congregate settings. (Level 2 means that two to three of seven indicators have been reached in a county.)

More detailed information on the advisory system, its indicators used to establish levels, and guidance for each level can be found at https://coronavirus.ohio.gov/wps/portal/gov/covid-19/public-health-advisory-system/

People in counties at Level 2 are to exercise a high degree of caution in addition to following all current health orders.

Guidelines for all levels include the following:

• Conduct a daily health/symptom self-evaluation and stay at home if symptomatic.

• Maintain social distancing of at least 6 feet from non-household members.

• Wear face coverings in public, especially when social distancing is difficult to maintain.

• Increase caution when interacting with others who are not practicing social distancing or wearing face covers.

• Avoid traveling to high-risk areas.

• Follow good hygiene standards, including:

* Wash hands frequently with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.

* Use hand sanitizer frequently. (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention [CDC] says hand sanitizers should contain at least 60 percent alcohol.)

* Avoid touching your face.

* Cover coughs or sneezes (e.g., into a tissue, or your elbow).

* Symptom self-evaluation monitoring.

Guidelines for Level 2 include the following:

• Same guidelines as in Level 1 and in addition:

• Avoid contact with anyone who is considered high-risk.

• High-risk individuals should take extra care to follow precautions.

• Decrease in-person interactions outside household.

• Seek medical care as needed, but limit or avoid unnecessary visits to hospitals, nursing homes, and residential care facilities to see others as much as possible.

“Over 60% of Ohioans are considered high-risk based on CDC guidance,” according to the Ohio Department of Health. “High-risk individuals are at an increased risk of severe illness and should take every precaution to guard against contracting COVID-19, including following higher risk level guidance ... Consult a doctor about your risk.”

Detailed information on Ohio Public Health Advisory Levels as well as information on who high-risk individuals are and more is available at https://coronavirus.ohio.gov/static/OPHASM/COVID-19-Risk-Level-Guidelines-GP.pdf

Households should assume that if one person is sick every person living there is as well and should take appropriate measures to control the spread, which should include self-quarantining and contacting a doctor, according to ODH.

At a press conference on Tuesday, the governor announced that he will send a letter to Ohio’s faith-based community to share important health information with Ohio churches, synagogues, and mosques and to share ways to better protect their worshippers.

One case study shows that a man with COVID-19 attended a church service in Ohio, and following that service, 91 additional people from five counties developed symptoms, according to the governor’s office. A graphic illustrating this case study is available at https://content.govdelivery.com/attachments/OHOOD/2020/08/04/file_attachments/1511121/Covid-19%20spread_case%20study_8.4.2020_.pdf

“I know that our faith-based leaders want nothing more than to protect their worshippers, but we also know that the virus can easily spread in places where people gather,” said Governor DeWine. “It is vital that, any time people gather together, everyone wear masks, practice social distancing, wash hands, and while indoors, making sure there is good ventilation and airflow.”

Also on Tuesday, the governor continued to warn Ohioans about community spread connected to informal gatherings between family and friends.

“The truth is that it is easier to be scared of a stranger than a friend. Maintaining social distance and choosing to not gather together is really a sign that you care about your loved ones,” Governor DeWine said.

New data compiled by the Ohio Department of Health shows the amount of community spread per county over the previous two weeks. As of Tuesday, it showed Pike County as 34th out of 88 counties for the highest occurrence of community spread.

As of Friday, Aug. 7, according to the Pike County General Health District, Pike County’s numbers included 76 total reported COVID-19 cases, with 26 of them active cases. Cases included 70 confirmed cases and six probable cases. The cases include 38 females and 38 males, and Pike cases range in age from two years old to 81 years old. The Pike health district was reporting one current hospitalization for COVID-19 as of Friday. ODH shows that Pike County has had a total of 10 hospitalizations for the disease.

As of Friday, Aug. 7 state numbers from ODH showed that Ohio has had a total of 98,675 reported COVID-19 cases, including 93,402 confirmed cases and 5,273 probable cases according to the CDC expanded case definition. The state showed a total of 3,652 reported COVID-19 deaths, including 3,381 confirmed COVID-19 deaths and 271 probable COVID-19 deaths according to the CDC expanded death definition. Ohio cases have ranged in age from less than one year old to 109 years old with a median age of 42 years old. As of Friday, Ohio was reporting 75,975 people presumed recovered (defined as cases with a symptom onset date more than 21 days prior who are not deceased).

The previous 24-hour reported death change in Ohio was higher than the 21-day reported death average for the state as of Friday.

Video of full updates from the governor and lieutenant governor, including versions with foreign language translation, can be viewed on the Ohio Channel’s YouTube page at https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCporaXCeaOJgZKz7y3C0zbg

For more information on Ohio’s response to COVID-19, including tips for prevention of the disease and slowing its spread, visit coronavirus.ohio.gov or call 1-833-4-ASK-ODH. For Pike County information, visit the Pike County General Health District’s Facebook page by using an internet search or following this link: https://www.facebook.com/Pike-County-General-Health-District-177816679077330/

Email at mlucas@newswatchman.com; follow on Twitter @NewsWatchman.

Load comments