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MANSFIELD -- Richland and Crawford counties remained "red," or level three, in the state's color-coded COVID-19 rating system on Thursday.

Richland County again triggered two of the seven's state Public Health Advisory System indicators, but remained red due to the "high incidence" level of the virus in the county.

The county reported 237 new positive tests in the last two weeks, or 195.62 per 100,000 residents. It was at 130.41 per 100,000 residents on Oct. 22 and 91.62 on Oct. 15.

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The other indicator Richland County triggered this week was percentage of cases found in non-congregate settings.

In the state's ratings system launched in July, a "high incidence" rating is a "red" ranking -- regardless of other indicators -- if the county had been level three the week before, until it drops below the high incidence threshold of over 100 cases per 100,000 over a two-week period.

Top 20 counties 102920

Crawford County again met four of the seven indicators and was one of the worst counties in the state for "high incidence," reporting 347 new cases per 100,000 residents. It was at 296.43 on Oct. 22 and 197.62 on Oct. 15.

Crawford County also met the indicator measuring sustained increase in new cases, cases in non-congregate settings and number of outpatient visits.

Knox and Ashland counties remained "orange," or level two, though Knox County triggered three of the seven indicators.

In his bi-weekly press conference, Gov. Mike DeWine called on leaders in each of the state's 88 counties to form "COVID Defense Teams" to combat the virus in each community.

"The virus is raging throughout Ohio. There is no place to hide. All of us must come together to fight this enemy. We must fight this invader," DeWine said.

The governor said Ohio has 43 "red" counties, up from 38 last week, equaling about 78 percent of the state's population. He said just two counties are "yellow," or level one, or about 1 percent of the state's populations.

"Today we’ve hit another record number of cases reported in a 24 hour period: 3,590. It’s the first time we’ve surpassed 3,000 cases – and 25 percent more than Saturday’s previous record high," DeWine said.

The governor said there have been 194 new hospitalizations reported in the past 24 hours, the third highest reported so far.

"The top five highest new hospitalization numbers have all occurred in the past week and a half," DeWine said.

The governor said members of each county's team should include county commissioners, mayors, hospital leaders, health commissioners, business leaders and religious leaders.

"They should be representative of the community," DeWine said.

DeWine called on these teams to "assess and understand" their community's situations, inventory their assets and determine what steps to take to "turn things around" in their communities.

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?"