Franklin County has returned to the highest level of threat on the state's color-coded Public Health Advisory map.
The purple designation means the county is at Level Four, in what Governor Mike DeWine says is a new wave in the pandemic.
"Franklin has gone to purple because health care utilization has started to increase over all the different settings. Emergency visits are up, outpatient visits, hospital admission for COVID - all of those are up."
There have been over 3,000 new cases of COVID-19 in Franklin County since the beginningof April, and emergency room and outpatient visits - a precursor to increased cases - have nearly doubled. While there have been no immediate calls for restrictions, health officials are urging residents to continue safe practices like masking and maintaining social distance - and to get vaccinated as soon as possible.
In Columbus, young people have represented a greater proportion of COVID-19 cases than many other big cities in the state. That population has only recently become eligible for vaccination.
While Franklin County has seen the largest increases in cases and medical visits, numbers are trending upwards across the state, including northern counties close to the border with Michigan, which has seen tremendous increases.
Officials Thursday reported that statewide there were 2,164 news cases, and 181 new hospital admission; 31 to intensive care units. Governor DeWine reported that the statewide average has increased to 200 per 100,000 residents.
"At one point it was over 700, then went way down; we were down to I think as low as 135, we hoped it would continue to go down and get to the 50..."
DeWine had promised that when the statewide average dropped to 50 cases per 100,000 residents all remain state orders would be lifted. But that was before the arrival of a more easily transmissable coronavirus variant.
"It is very much alive and multiplying and moving in Ohio. So it is a race. We've got to stay with basics: keep the mask on, we gotta keep some distance, we gotta be careful - at the same time we have got to really but the emphasis on getting the shot."
Nearly one in four Ohioans are completely innoculated, and over 4.25 million have at least begun the vaccination process.