PHAS 082020

COLUMBUS -- Richland County improved to "yellow," or level one, in the state's COVID-19 Public Health Advisory System, Gov. Mike DeWine said Thursday.

Across north central Ohio, Ashland, Crawford and Knox counties remained "yellow" again this week.

In the eighth-week of the color-coded system created to monitor the spread of coronavirus county-by-county, it's the second time Richland County has been rated at the lowest level.

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The county was rated "orange," or level two on Aug. 13 and Aug. 6; yellow on July 30; "red," or level three, on July 23 and July 16; and orange on July 9 and July 2.

Masks in public became mandatory in Richland County on July 16 and there has been an overall decrease in the spread of the virus during the past five weeks, according to the Ohio Dept. of Health website.

There were nine "red," or level three, counties in Ohio this week, the lowest number since the system was implemented, DeWine said.

Free pop-up COVID-19 testing will be provided Saturday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Richland County Fairgrounds, provided by the State of Ohio, Richland Public Health and local community organizations.

The event at the 750 N. Home Road site will be able to provide between 800 and 1,000 tests, according to local organizers.

The country "triggered" just one of the seven indicators used in the ratings system this week -- new cases found in non-congregate care settings. Richland County remained at 83 percent in this category, easily above the 50-percent threshold required to meet the indicator.

The "new cases per capita" indicator, which the county triggered last week, dropped sharply this week.

The county had 47 new positive tests over the last two weeks, which is 38.79 per 100,000 residents. A week ago, the county was at 57.78 per 100,000. The indicator is considered "met" at 50 residents per 100,000.

County ranks 082020

Other COVID-19 indicators this week:

-- Outpatient visits (seven-day average) were 13.57 on Aug. 18, down from 21 on Aug. 11.

-- New cases (seven-day average) were 1.14 on Aug. 18, down from 5.57 on Aug. 11.

-- Emergency room visits (seven-day average) were at 3.71 on Aug. 18, up slightly from 3.57 on Aug. 11, but down from 5.14 on Aug. 16.

-- Hospital admissions (seven-day average) were at 0.71 on Aug. 18, down from 1.43 on Aug. 11.

-- Intensive care bed usage on Aug. 18 was at 6.45 percent for COVID-19 patients, down from 7.93 on Aug. 12.

According to the ODH website, Richland County had two new positive COVID-19 tests in the last 24 hours, now showing 661 cases of coronavirus since the pandemic began in March.

There were no new hospitalizations in the last 24 hours, remaining at 89 since the start of the pandemic. The county has recorded 15 COVID-19 deaths since March, none in the last 24 hours.

According to ODH, Richland County has had 543 presumed recoveries from COVID-19.

Statewide, Ohio reported 1,122 new positive tests, which is 56 above the 21-day average. There were 22 deaths, down one below the average. ODH reported 86 hospitalizations in the last 24 hours, six below the 21-day average and 17 ICU admissions, two above the average.

Since the pandemic began, Ohio has reported 112,003 cases, which is roughly 1 percent of the state's 11 million residents. There have been 12,615 hospitalizations, or about 11 percent of those getting the virus.

There have been 3,929 deaths, roughly 3.5 percent of those contracting the illness in Ohio. There have also been 91,656 presumed recoveries.

Also on Thursday, DeWine announced adult day centers and senior centers may open at a reduced capacity beginning Sept. 21 -- if they are able to meet certain safety standards. Specific guidelines will be issued on

City editor. 30-year plus journalist. Husband. Father of 3 grown sons and also a proud grandpa. Prior military journalist in U.S. Navy, Ohio Air National Guard. -- Favorite quote: "Where were you when the page was blank?"