PORTSMOUTH — Scioto County EMA was notified by Scioto County Health Commissioner Thursday that the Ohio Department of Health is moving Scioto County from a Level 2 (Orange) to a Level 3 (RED) Public Health Emergency.
Level 3 means there is a very high exposure and spread of the COVID-19 virus. Citizens are advised to limit activities as much as possible.
During Governor Mike DeWine’s regular 2 p.m. update on the status of the Coronavirus in Ohio, he shared that Scioto County was moved to red due to the significant rise in cases throughout the past two weeks.
“Almost all of their new cases were from outside congregate settings, indicating significant community spread,” DeWine said. “More are going to their doctor and being diagnosed with Coronavirus. Local officials note an outbreak at a day care center and at least one other workplace.”
With the move to level three, Scioto County is now under a mask mandate for all residents when out in public or at a business. The city of Portsmouth already put in place a mask mandate, which is to be enforced by the health departments. DeWine also praised retail stores including Walmart and Kroger for implementing a mask policy within their stores across the nation.
“If you’re out walking your dog, do you have to wear a mask… no, but you can’t be visiting neighbors and going to gatherings,” DeWine said. “It’s about protecting our communities, so the kids can go back to school this fall, so we can have sporting events.”
The mask mandate will begin Friday, July 17, 2020, at 6 p.m. for every county that was moved to level three Thursday.
The move to Level 3 (RED) is based on the following criteria:
1. New cases per capita (47 new cases in past 14 days, representing 54% of our total cases.
2. Sustained increase in new cases. (Since 6/23, average daily number of new cases increased from 1 to more than 4) as of July 9.
3. Proportion of cases NOT in congregate settings (i.e., nursing homes, developmental disabilities group homes, assisted living). This indicates community spread.
4. Sustained increase in outpatient visits for COVID symptoms or diagnosis. (From June 23 – July 14, this increased from 1 per day to 5 per day.)