At Tuesday’s Governor DeWine’s COVID-19 Update, the question was posed as to what actions would be taken, if any, by state officials should Richland County’s Public Health Advisory Level reach the highest, or “Purple” Level this week.
Carl Hunnell, City Editor for Richland Source, asked DeWine about possible local ramifications in light of the fact that no Ohio county has been moved to that highest level.
As we shared last week (see below), the county was moved to the “Red” Level last Thursday with additional placement on a “Watch List” because of the levels recorded for each indicator.
The State of Ohio’s Public Health Advisory System monitoring local levels of COVID-19 moved Richland County on a “Red,” or “3” Level when statistics were released on Thursday afternoon. The county was also put on the ” Watch List,” meaning that if Richland County has six or more indicators triggered next week, it will move to the “Purple” Level, the highest in the advisory system.
Noting that the numbers are tied in part to outbreaks in two state prisons, Hunnell inquired as to what the Purple Level would mean for Richland County residents, schools, and businesses — particularly when a primary driver of those numbers is local prison operations.
DeWine responded initially by noting that some indicators would be impacted by prison outbreaks, but others would not.
As to local impact, the Governor shared, “These color codes are really to inform people of the nature of a problem.” “If they (Richland County) would go purple, again, it means nothing in so far as what the state is telling them to do.”
The color level, particularly the Red Level, is an indicator of a problem, and an encouragement to look at data and local actions,” DeWine said. There will be no punitive action taken by the State of Ohio.
Again addressing the issue of prisons, he continued that while citizens are not responsible for what happens in prison, prison employees live in Richland and surrounding counties, and as such prisons do have an impact on the general population.
Indicators that look at ER and doctor office visits, he said, show a problem in the community. Overall, maps are an attempt to alert as to what is happening and might be coming down the road, he concluded.