NEW LEXINGTON — Across the country, some hot spot states have been seeing steady increases in coronavirus (COVID-19) confirmed cases. In Ohio, the implementation of a new alert system outlines where cases are increasing throughout the state.
According to the Perry County Health Department’s Facebook page, the county has been reclassified in the Level II Health Emergency on the state’s new county risk level alerts. A Level II alert means that there is a contagious spread of the virus while also having increased exposure and spread.
In Perry County, according to the Health Department, reports show there are currently 18 active cases in the county. Additionally, there are five probable cases in the county. In total, the lab has confirmed 44 cases. Numbers were reported on July 13, Monday.
According to Google’s COVID-19 database, the United States is seeing over three million confirmed cases as well as over 138,000 deaths. It is also reported that the country is seeing one million individuals have recovered.
The Perry County Health Department urges locals to exercise high degrees of caution as well as following all the state’s guidelines. The same recommendations come from the state as well.
In the surrounding areas, Perry County is not the only region experiencing a high volume or a steady increase of cases. Neighboring Fairfield County has been reclassified as a Level III public health emergency, which entails that there is a very high exposure and spread rate. Recommendations for the Level III counties are to limit activities as much as possible. Face masks/coverings are now also required in Fairfield County when out in public.
Morgan and Hocking counties are still in the yellow, Level I Health Emergency. This means there is active exposure and spread.
According to Lt. Doug Gill with the Perry County Unified Command Center, the Perry County Health Department is looking into many “variables” that are contributing to not just increases in the county, but also in the surrounding areas and states.
“Some of it has been out of state contact,” Lt. Gill told The Perry County Tribune.
During the warm summer months, locals are eager to get out and about traveling to places such as Florida, for vacation, according to Gill. According to Google COVID-19 databases, Florida has seen approximately 282,000 confirmed cases with numbers increasing everyday. The Gulf Coast state has also experienced over 4,000 deaths.
Lt. Gill stated that the fortunate part of these uncertain times is that locals have been very cooperative with the local health department when it comes to contact tracing.
“For the most part, everyone is being friendly about it — they are just as concerned as we are,” Lt. Gill stated.
He added that while numbers for confirmed cases are increasing, part of that also touches on the increase in available testing. Locals who have felt somewhat ill have opted to be tested, according to the Lieutenant, along with being detailed in who they have been in contact with as well as where they have been.
However, even with contact tracing, it is difficult to tell the exact point in time an individual contracts COVID-19 as travelers must stop to either refuel or take a break.
“It’s hard to prove what state they got it from,” Gill said. “There is no way we are able to determine that.”
When it comes to wearing masks, the Perry County Health Department is looking at that option very closely as some counties have been instructed to have mandatory mask policies in place. Lt. Gill stated that Perry County is a bedroom community to the City of Columbus, as well as Franklin County.
According to the statehouse on Thursday, July 9, counties that are in the Level III red alert status are being mandated to wear a mask in public which began at 6 p.m. on July 10, Friday. There are currently, as of Friday, 12 counties in the state that are at Level III alerts.
Counties that are in Level III include Butler, Cuyahoga, Franklin, Hamilton, Montgomery, Trumbull, Clermont, Fairfield, Lorain, Pickaway, Summit and Wood counties.
Level IV of the new state’s public health alert system labeled in the color purple signifies that a county has severe exposure and spread. If a county is categorized as such, locals will be encouraged to only leave their homes for supplies and services.
So far, Butler, Hamilton and Cuyahoga counties are being watched as they are on the verge of Level IV.