The Tuscarawas County Health Department and the New Philadelphia City Health Department were alerted Thursday afternoon that Tuscarawas County has moved from Risk Level 2/ Orange into Risk Level 3/ Red in the Ohio Public Health Advisory System.
The Level 3 Risk designation means that there is very high exposure and spread of COVID-19 in Tuscarawas County. Tuscarawas County residents are encouraged to limit activities as much as possible and to follow all current health orders.
“We are very concerned by the increase of COVID-19 cases in Tuscarawas County which are largely due to community spread,” noted Katie Seward, Tuscarawas County Health Commissioner. “The New Philadelphia City Health Commissioner and I strongly encourage residents to follow the safety guidelines to wear masks, social distance, avoid large gatherings, wash hands frequently, and stay home if you are sick. Rest assured that our contact tracers will continue to dedicate our time and energy to working with and quarantining positive cases and their close contacts to mitigate the spread within our community.”
“We really appreciate the community’s support to reduce the spread of COVID-19,” said Vickie Ionno, New Philadelphia City Health Commissioner. “Commissioner Seward and I feel confident that if we all work together, we can do what’s necessary to reduce Tuscarawas County’s alert level and prevent this pandemic from negatively impacting the health of our loved ones, friends, and co-workers. We also highly recommend that county residents get a flu vaccine to prevent a strain on our healthcare system and the potential complications of a person having the flu and COVID-19 at the same time.”
The Ohio Public Health Advisory System was established to increase the information available to Ohioans about COVID-19 risk at the county level. Seven indicators are analyzed to assess the risk for each county. The indicators are as follows:
- New Cases Per Capita – Flagged if greater than 50 cases per 100,000 residents over the last two weeks.
- Sustained Increase in New Cases – Flagged if the increasing trend of at least 5 days in overall cases by onset date.
- The proportion of Cases Not Congregate Cases – Flagged if the proportion of cases that are not in a congregate setting goes over 50%.
- Sustained Increase in Emergency Room Visits – Flagged if the increasing trend of at least 5 days in the number of visits to the emergency department with COVID-like illness or a diagnosis.
- Sustained Increase in Outpatient Visits – Flagged if the increasing trend of at least 5 days in the number of people going to a health care provider with COVID symptoms who then receive a COVID confirmed or suspected diagnosis.
- Sustained Increase in New Covid-19 Hospital Admissions – Flagged if the increasing trend of at least 5 days in the number of new hospitalizations due to COVID.
- Intensive Care Unit (ICU) Bed Occupancy – Flagged if the percentage of occupied ICU beds in each region goes above 80% for at least three days in the last week.
Level 3 is reached when a county triggers 4-5 of the above indicators. The 5 indicators triggered in Tuscarawas County are as follows:
- New Cases Per Capita (217.4 cases per 100,000 residents over the last two weeks)
- Sustained Increase in New Cases (Average new daily cases increased from 11.9 on 10/8 to 20.6 by 10/15)
- The proportion of Cases Not Congregate Cases (Most cases are a result of community spread)
- Sustained Increase in Outpatient Visits (Increased from 1.6 average visits on 10/5 to 3.4 on 10/9)
- Sustained Increase in New Covid-19 Hospital Admissions (Increased from 1.1 average admissions on 10/13 to 2.4 on 10/19)
Residents should follow the recommended guidelines for Risk Level 3 to reduce the spread of COVID-19:
- Conduct a daily health/symptom self-evaluation and stay at home if symptomatic.
- Maintain social distancing of at least 6 feet from non-household members.
- Consider necessary travel and errands only.
- Follow good hygiene standards, including:
o Wash hands frequently with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
o Use hand sanitizer frequently.
o Avoid touching your face.
o Cover coughs or sneezes (e.g., into a tissue, or elbow).
- Decrease in-person interactions with others.
- Limit attending gatherings of any number.
- Seek medical care as needed, but limit or avoid unnecessary visits to hospitals, nursing homes, and residential care facilities to see others as much as possible.