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Franklin County Most At Risk In New State Coronavirus Map

Ohio Department of Health

Franklin County is one of seven counties that scored highest  on color-coded coronavirus risk map of Ohio unveiled today.  Alison Holm reports.

The Ohio Public Health Advisory System collects seven different data points like the rate of new cases of COVID-19 per capita, sustained increase in new cases outside of congregate settings like nursing homes or prisons, and increases in outpatient visits, emergency room visits, hospitalization, and intensive care unit occupancy.  It then grades counties in four color categories, ranging from mild yellow with zero to 1 warning flag, to extreme purple which has six or more dangerously high data points.  Ohio Governor Mike DeWine says there are no counties in the highest category - yet: 

"Franklin County is now in the watch list.  With the grave concern that it could be moving from red to purple."

This weeks map shows 53 of Ohio's 88 counties are considered yellow.  7 counties - Franklin, Montgomery, Butler, Hamilton, Cuyahoga, Huron and Trumbull - are red.  The remainder - including Delaware, Licking, Fairfield and Pickaway are orange counties, with 2-3 of the data points at high levels.  Three other indicators - contact tracing, tests per capita, and the percentage of tests that are positive - are still being developed.

DeWine says the map is made possible because of increased data collection.  And he says it will allow state officials to tailor responses to specific counties' needs.

"We have been surging in, for example, into Hamilton County, Montgomery County, help in regard to more testing.  I talk to Mayor Ginther. A lot.  And we're talking about more testing here.  The new data shows me that we have a problem in Trumbull County.  We're starting to work with officials there in Trumbull County, and I'll ask my team: 'What are we doing about Trumbull County?  What are we doing about Huron?'"

But the map is also a response to state representatives and local elected officials in counties less affected by the pandemic, who have bristled at restrictive state-wide measures.  

The weekly Ohio Public Health Advisory System will be updated on Wednesdays on the state website

A native of Chicago, naturalized citizen of Cincinnati and resident of Columbus, Alison attended Earlham College and the Ohio State University. She has equal passion for Midwest history, hockey and Slavic poetry.
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