Coronavirus Update: DeWine Addresses the State, Franklin County Near Level 4 Advisory
Keep up with regular news updates regarding Columbus and Ohio’s response to COVID-19 here.
COVID-19 cases — As of Wednesday, July 15, 10,190 cases and 359 deaths from COVID-19 have been reported or are probable in Columbus and Worthington. Countywide, 13,456 cases and 469 deaths from COVID-19 have been reported by Columbus Public Health and Franklin County Public Health.
Statewide, 69,311 cases and 3,075 deaths have been confirmed or are probable, as reported by the Ohio Department of Health.
Gov. DeWine Addresses the State — On Tuesday, July 14, Governor Mike DeWine canceled his planned press briefing and later announced he would “address the current state” of the coronavirus pandemic in a Wednesday evening briefing, instead.
During the Wednesday press briefing, he addressed the increase in COVID-19 cases in the state, as well as the suggestion that the increase in new cases is the result of an increase in testing. He said that while testing in the state has increased by 87%, the state’s number of new positive cases has increased by almost 200%.
Gov. DeWine eventually asked Ohioans to “take action now” so that kids can return to school and sports in the fall, businesses can remain open, and Ohioans can continue earning a living by wearing a mask and social distancing. However, he did not announce any mandates or statewide efforts to address the increase in cases during the briefing.
Franklin County May Be Near Level 4 Health Advisory — Franklin County is one of 12 counties currently experiencing a Level 3 Public Health Emergency, meaning that, according to the Ohio Public Health Advisory System, there is very high exposure and spread of COVID-19 within these counties. Under this level, people are supposed to “limit activities as much as possible.”
Seven indicators, including a sustained increase in new cases and the proportion of cases not in a congregate setting — over 50% in at least one of the last 3 weeks — determine what level each county is in, with counties meeting four to five indicators reaching level 3 status.
In order to address spread in the hardest-hit counties, on Thursday, Governor Mike DeWine announced a mask order for counties experiencing at least a level 3 health advisory. However, some leaders are worried that there is little support regarding enforcement of the order.
On Thursday Governor DeWine also said Franklin County may tip over into level 4 status. A Level 4 Public Emergency would signify severe exposure and spread, and would urge the public to “only leave home for supplies and services.”
According to Ohio Public Health’s advisory system profile for Franklin County, all indicators with the exception of intensive care unit (ICU) bed occupancy and a sustained increase in new COVID-19 hospital admissions have been met, however the latter is “nearly triggered.”
For more information on COVID-19 in Ohio, visit coronavirus.ohio.gov or call 1-833-4-ASK-ODH.