(Posted Oct. 8, 2020)
Today, Gov. Mike DeWine announced that Madison County is now Level 3 (red) on the Ohio Public Health Advisory System (PHAS). The PHAS is a color-coded approach to inform Ohioans about their current risk associated with COVID-19 where they live and travel. The system is built on seven data indicators to assess COVID-19 spread in Ohio counties.
According to Madison County Health Commissioner Chris Cook, Madison County has triggered four of the seven statewide indicators of COVID-19 spread.
“Based on the incidence of COVID-19 in our county and trends I’ve observed in similar counties that have been red, I anticipate we will be at Level 3 for at least two weeks and perhaps longer. But so much of this depends on our personal choices to wear masks and distance ourselves,” Cook said.
Madison County triggered indicators one through four this week:
INDICATOR 1: The county case rate is high.
“We are averaging 33 new cases every week. For a county of our size, we should be averaging no more than 11 cases per week,” Cook said.
INDICATOR 2: The county has a sustained increase in new cases.
During the last three weeks, Madison County had a string of at least five straight days when the number of new cases increased each day.
INDICATOR 3: Most of the county’s new cases are in the general population.
“The majority of our new cases over the last three weeks do not live in prisons or nursing homes,” Cook said.
INDICATOR 4: More people are going to the Emergency Department for COVID-19 illness.
During the last three weeks, Madison County has a string of at least five straight days when the number of residents seeking emergency care for COVID-19 illness increased each day.
Businesses, churches and government offices should reinforce all existing safety processes with their staff and patrons with a renewed sense of importance, Cook said.
Madison County Public Health evaluates community data on a daily basis and is in continuous contact with school leadership to advise them of protective actions to keep school environments as safe as possible. Public events are carefully reviewed for compliance with state orders, and additional safety precautions will be in effect while the county is at PHAS Level 3.
Cook notes that residents need to take steps to reduce the spread in the county.
“Limit activities with other people as much as possible, especially unorganized social gatherings with friends,” he said.
He also advises people who are high risk for complications of COVID-19 illness or have existing medical conditions to stay home when they can.
“People are starting to drop their guard and drop their masks. Masks make a huge difference. I’m asking everyone to wear a mask whenever you are around people you don’t live with and socially distance at least six feet away from others,” Cook said. “The phrase, ‘back up, mask up,’ is fantastic, simple advice.”