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COVID-19 CRISIS UPDATE: Summit, Stark counties go to purple


DGKN staff report

Summit and Stark counties are among five new counties that have reached the “purple” Level 4 on the Ohio Public Health Advisory System, Gov. Mike DeWine stated during Thursday’s news conference.

Six of the eight counties, which are designated as “purple,” which means “severe exposure and spread,” are near Wayne County. Wayne County is still at the “red” Level 3 along with the majority of counties in the state.

Other new counties in the “purple” level include Medina, Portage and Richland. Lake, Lorain and Montgomery counties remain purple. Cuyahoga, Fairfield and Madison counties are on the watch list as approaching Level 4.

“This is the first week since April where Ohio’s positivity for COVID-19 has increased above 15 percent,” DeWine’s Twitter account states. “Ohio’s travel advisory recommends Ohioans stay home except for necessary trips for supplies, as well as consistent mask-wearing and frequent hand washing.”

Holmes County – the county with the least amount of COVID occurrence in the state – is still almost three times the CDC’s high incidence rate, DeWine’s Twitter account states.

“We still haven’t seen the impact of Thanksgiving in our hospital numbers,” according to Dr. Andy Thomas of The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center. “Usually, people are admitted a week after they’re diagnosed. This is not the beginning of the end. This is not even the end of the beginning.

“We’re in a really difficult spot here, and we’re just now heading into the most challenging 3 months of this pandemic. ICU beds are the area of capacity where we have the biggest strain across the state – especially in rural areas.”

As of Thursday, there are 5,142 patients who are currently hospitalized, and 1,204 of those patients are in the ICU, according to DeWine. Thursday, he reported 8,921 new cases in Ohio, which is the fifth-highest case count seen in this pandemic. He reported 396 new hospitalizations and 33 new ICU admissions reported in the last 24 hours. Eighty-two deaths have been reported since yesterday.

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