PHAS 082720

MANSFIELD -- Richland County reported its 17th death related to COVID-19 on Thursday, the same day Gov. Mike DeWine announced the county remained "yellow," or level one, in the Public Health Advisory System.

Ashland, Crawford and Knox counties also remained level one in the system.

The latest fatality was an an 88-year-old woman who died on Monday. Richland Public Health said the woman, who had a pre-existing medical condition, contracted the virus while living in a long-term care facility.

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The death is the sixth reported in August, according to RPH. Eleven of the deaths since the pandemic reached Ohio in March have involved long-term care settings, about 65 percent of the fatalities.

At least 16 of the 17 had an underlying medical condition that made them more vulnerable to the virus. In the case of the remaining death, RPH said it was not reported if there was an underlying condition.

In the weekly rating of the virus spread, Richland County again triggered just one of the seven indicators -- percentage of cases found in non-congregate settings. According to the ODH website, there were no active cases in long-term care facilities in Richland County as of Wednesday.

The indicator is considered "met" if more than 50 percent of new cases are found in non-congregate settings. Richland County was at 100 percent between Aug. 19-25, an increase from 94 percent the week prior and 85 percent two weeks ago.

The county was not close to triggering any of the other seven indicators.

New cases per capita -- The county had 32 new cases in the last two weeks, a rate of 26.41 per 100,000 population. That's down from 38.79 on Aug. 20 and 57.78 on Aug. 13. The indicator is "triggered" at 50 new cases per capita.

New cases increase (seven-day average) -- As of Tuesday, Richland County was at 1.71 new cases, down from 8.71 on Aug. 18. This indicator is flagged if a county sees an increasing trend of at least five consecutive days in overall cases by onset date over the last three weeks.

Emergency room visits (seven-day average) -- Richland County was at 2.29 on Tuesday, down from 3.71 on Aug. 18. The indicator is met if a county has an increasing trend of at least five consecutive days in the number of visits to the emergency department with COVID-like illness or a diagnosis over the last three weeks.

Outpatient visits (seven-day average) -- Richland County was at six visits on Aug. 25, down from 13.57 on Aug. 18 and 21 on Aug. 11. A county is flagged on this indicator if it reports an increasing trend of at least five consecutive days in the number of people going to a health care provider with COVID symptoms who then receive a COVID confirmed or suspected diagnosis over the last three weeks.

Hospital admissions (seven-day average) -- Richland County was at 0.14 on Tuesday, down from 0.71 on Aug. 18 and 1.43 on Aug. 11. This indicator is considered met if a county has an increasing trend of at least five consecutive days in the number of new hospitalizations due to COVID over the last three weeks.

ICU bed occupancy -- A county is flagged here if the percentage of the occupied ICU beds in each region goes above 80 percent for at least three days in the last week, AND more than 20 percent of ICU beds are being used for COVID-19 positive patients for at least three days in the last week. In its region, 4.31 percent of beds were being used for COVID-19 patients as of Tuesday and 71 percent of total ICU beds were occupied.

As of Thursday afternoon, Richland County has reported 689 positive tests since the pandemic began with 90 total hospitalizations, 17 deaths and 603 presumed recoveries. That would mean there were 69 active cases in Richland County.

Around the state, there were six "red," or level three counties, the lowest number reported since the system was put in place earlier this summer. Montgomery County was the only new "red" county while Erie, Lorain, Lucas, Mercer and Preble counties remained red.

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?"