CEDARVILLE — Greene County is a Level Three — red — status on the Ohio Public Advisory System as of Thursday.
A Level Three classification under the Ohio Department of Health indicates there is severe exposure and spread in the county.
Greene County Public Health (GCPH) officials said they have been tracking an increase in COVID-19 cases in the county over the past month among the general public, as well as at universities and nursing homes.
” … we have been working to continue our contact tracing efforts to assist with controlling the spread of the virus in the county,” Greene County Health Commissioner Melissa Howell said. “All residents should maintain a healthy respect for Sars Co-V 2. If you have become complacent about social distancing, hand-washing and wearing a mask, or lulled into a false sense of security, now is the time to take action to protect you, your family and the community.”
According to a release from GCPH, the alert levels are based off of new cases per capita (184.7 per 100,000 residents), proportion of cases not in a congregate setting, sustained increase in outpatient visits (11.3 average visits on Sept. 27 to 22 average visits on Oct. 12) and sustained increase in COVID-19 hospitalizations (0.7 average admissions on Oct. 7 to 1.9 on Oct. 13).
GCPH officials and staff continue to respond to the pandemic.
“Several sectors of the community have opened successfully and remain open. State and local officials are continuously monitoring the course of disease transmission and providing guidance to minimize the spread of COVID-19,” Laurie Fox, public information officer, said. “Through monitoring and increased testing, officials can identify trends and make recommendations. This will help keep more Ohioans and residents in Greene County safe and healthy.”
Howell strongly encouraged all residents ages 6 months and older to get a flu vaccine.
To control the spread of the virus within the county, Howell recommended the following evidence-based guidance and actions:
• People should obtain facts on COVID-19 from reputable sources including the CDC, ODH, and GCPH.
• People should stay home when sick (except to seek medical care), wear a face covering, cover coughs and sneezes, wash hands frequently, avoid close contact with others and avoid crowds.
• The elderly and those with weakened immune systems should stay at home as much as possible.
• All businesses and operations must follow social distancing and face covering requirements set forth by the ODH director’s order.
• All employees must wear a face covering when not able to maintain a 6-foot social distance, including serving customers at check-out and during customer service interactions. Employee face coverings are not required in a private office when alone.
• By order, all individuals must wear a face covering in public, both indoors and outdoors, when they are unable to maintain a social distance. Exceptions include when they are in their own residence or when it is not medically advisable to do so.
• Employers should explore ways for employees to work at home or explore shift rotations.
• Enhanced COVID-19 cleaning protocols using EPA-approved products should be used by businesses and building management, with added attention to high touch surfaces.
• People should not attend large social events or gatherings.
• Events designed to bring people together should not take place. Examples of events that should not be held, include, but are not limited to: festivals, block parties, group picnics, art shows, outdoor concerts, tastes of the city, parades, fireworks, food truck rallies, conferences, conventions, car shows, races and walks, and spectator sports.
• Churches are encouraged to provide in-vehicle and/or online services.
• K-12 schools are required to follow the ODH and the Ohio Department of Education’s COVID-19 health and prevention guidance.
• Personal travel should be limited. Those who must travel should travel alone or only with their consistent quarantine partners and avoid current national COVID-19 hot spots.
For more information on COVID-19, visit healthalert.gcph.info/COVID19 or call ODH’s call center at 1-833-4-ASK-ODH or visit www.coronavirus.ohio.gov.