When numbers were released Thursday afternoon by the Ohio Department of Health, Richland County found itself in very much the same place it was last week.
Fortunately, that meant that the county did not become the first in the state to reach the highest, or “Purple” level, during the current COVID-19 pandemic. The county was one of 18 statewide at the Red level.
That said, the margin by which it missed that level was very small.
This Thursday’s numbers showed that Richland County met five of the “indicators,” as opposed to six indicators the week earlier.
The indicator that was previously triggered but not met this week involves the number of outpatient visits in the county. Indicators concerning the number of new cases, the rate of increase, the percentage of cases resulting from non-congregate settings, emergency department visits, and hospital admissions were met.
There have been a total of 121 cases over the last two weeks, representing a level of 99.87 cases per 100,000 population.
During his remarks given on the front proch of the Harding House in Marion, Governor DeWine was asked another question by Carl Hunnell of Richland Source. Hunnel’s question asked for DeWine’s to clarify previous statements that the Public Health Advisory System color codes were meant only to inform, and were not linked to specific guidelines or orders.
Hunnell mentioned that the Health Department website includes wording to the effect that Ohioans in Purple counties should not leave home “except for supplies and services.”
DeWine responded briefly by stating that the color codes are the best health advice that experts can give, but it remains advice. Colors are there to inform, he said, not directly addressing the specific language on the Department of Health site.