During the Governor of Ohio’s briefing on Thursday, difficult news was shared about Delaware County and its experience with COVID-19.
Along with 18 other counties, Delaware County is now under a Level 3 under the Public Health Advisory System.
And, as a result, county residents are now under an order to wear face coverings as of 6 PM on Friday, July 17 when in the following environments:
- In any indoor location that is not a residence
- When outdoors and unable to maintain a distance of six feet or more from individuals who are not members of their own household
- While waiting for, riding, driving, or operation public transportation, taxi, private car service, or ride sharing vehicle (does not apply to vehicles engaged in direct travel through a county that does not stop in that county)
The order does not apply to children under the age of 10 or any other minor who cannot safely wear a face covering. The order also reflects the mask guidance in place for employees and businesses which does not require a person to wear a mask if their physician advises against it, if wearing a mask is prohibited by federal regulation, if communicating with the hearing impaired, when alone in an office or personal workspace, and other similar measures.
The requirement will expire when Delaware County drops back from its Level 3 status.
The Public Health Advisory System announces alerts as to the level of the Public Emergency that is based upon the indicators triggered. The alert levels are as follows:
- Level 1 (Yellow): 0-1 Public Health Advisory indicators triggered.
- Level 2 (Orange): 2-3 Public Health Advisory indicators triggered.
- Level 3 (Red): 4-5 Public Health Advisory indicators triggered; however, a county in this category cannot improve its risk level unless it also drops below the CDC’s threshold for high incidence (100 cases per 100,000 over the last 2 weeks).
- Level 4 (Purple): 6 or more Public Health Advisory indicators triggered during two reporting periods in a row. However, a county in this category cannot improve its risk level until it has not triggered 6 or more indicators for two consecutive reporting periods.
In information released by the State of Ohio Department of Health, the situation in Delaware County was described in this manner:
“This is the first week that Delaware County has been designated a Risk Level 3. During the past 14 days, 233 COVID-19 cases have been identified, which means the county exceeds the “high incidence” category as defined by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. More than 30% of Delaware County’s total cases have been during the last two weeks. Since June 23, Delaware County’s COVID-19 average daily cases increase from 6 cases to 23 cases by July 11. Due to clinical and reporting lags, these numbers may continue to grow for this reporting period. People are visiting their doctors and being diagnosed with COVID-19 more often. Between June 23 and July 11, average outpatient visits doubled from 40 to 81 visits per day. In recent weeks, more than 93% of the cases were not in congregate settings, signaling significant transmission in the broader community.”
In his remarks on Thursday, DeWine noted that Delaware County’s current caseload is now higher than that of the Republic of Ireland, which has a population of 4.9 million. He also shared that a number of the county’s new cases have resulted from those returning from stays in Floriday.
The 19 counties now at Level 3 represent approximately 60% of the population of Ohio.