Coronavirus

Richland County remained in the red category in Ohio's color-coded coronavirus advisory system as shown on Nov. 19.

All 88 Ohio counties remain at high incidence of coronavirus, Gov. Mike DeWine reported on Thursday. 
 
Richland County was in the red category as part of the state's color-coded coronavirus advisory system.
 
Franklin County, encompassing the Columbus area, on Thursday became Ohio's first purple county in the state's system. Purple represents "severe exposure and spread" of coronavirus.
 
"While Franklin is the only county moving to purple this week, we see similar stories in much of the state," DeWine said in his televised briefing and on Twitter. "Our healthcare system is feeling the impact of this disease and hospitals are worried about being able to keep up with staffing of nurses and doctors and other support staff."
 
No Ohio counties are yellow in the advisory system.
 
"This means all parts of the state are now at elevated levels of risk, even in our smaller or more rural counties," DeWine said.
 
In a social media post on Thursday afternoon, the Shelby City Health Department reported that it was monitoring 40 active coronavirus cases with 36 individuals self-isolating in home quarantine and four people who are  hospitalized.
 
"The department has documented a total of 161 individuals who have tested positive for COVID-19 since the outbreak began in March," the post stated. "Of that cumulative number, 120 have attained recovered/resolved status as of this report."
 
One coronavirus death is reported in Shelby, dating back to Sept. 29.
 
During the briefing, the state's chief medical officer, Dr. Bruce Vanderhoff, said the threat posed to Ohio cannot be overstated. "The actions of the people of Ohio will be the determining factor of what the future looks like," he said. "We have to band together, we have to be protective of one another."
 
In response to increasing coronavirus case counts, stay at home advisories were issued this week in several Ohio communities, including the Columbus, Cleveland, Dayton, Toledo and Akron areas.
 
Also, a 21-day statewide curfew from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. was set to start Thursday night.
 
DeWine also said that the number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Ohio likely is higher than reported Thursday by the state.
 
"Our data team tells us there are 12,000 antigen tests that have not yet been double-checked," he said. "Most of the 12,000 are expected to be confirmed."
 
He challenged claims that the higher number of Ohio cases is due to increased testing.
 
"Testing has gone up 43 percent since October 17," DeWine said. "Cases have gone up 299 percent."
 
On Thursday, DeWine also updated Ohioans on the state's toughened order on masks.
 
"Our new Retail Compliance Unit has started its work throughout Ohio, visiting around 50 percent of Ohio’s counties in the first three days," he said. "Agents report that most employers and customers are taking our current situation seriously - with over 90 percent compliance in distancing and masks."
 
DeWine also announced he would veto state legislation aiming to block the Ohio Department of Health's ability to issue quarantine/isolation orders.
 
"If a person comes to Ohio from a country with an Ebola outbreak, future leaders couldn’t ask them to quarantine until it’s certain they were not directly exposed to a carrier of the disease," he said, citing one example. "They would be free to be in any public place -- possibly spreading the disease."
 

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