Today, the Ohio Department of Health (ODH) reported an uptick in COVID-19 activity within Union County. Union County has been upgrade to a Level Three alert on the Ohio Public Health Advisory System.

A Level Three classification means the risk for exposure to COVID-19 has increased as sustained spread within the county has been identified in recent weeks. Union County residents should continue to follow standard precautions and health orders. The Ohio Department of Health issued a face covering requirement for all counties with a Level Three alert that takes effect the evening of July 17 and is in place while the county is at a Level three or higher alert.

According to Dr. Andrew Thomas from the Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center, five of the seven indicators are considered leading indicators. These leading indicators try to identify worrisome trends over the past two weeks so we have time to respond and take actions to reverse the trend. These leading indicators look at increases in new cases, what the per capita case count looks like, and are more people going to the doctor with COVID-19 like symptoms.

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The Ohio Department of Health reports Union County’s trend data for recent weeks hit triggers in four of these leading indicators: new cases per capita, sustained increase in new cases, proportion of new cases in non-congregate settings, and sustained increase in outpatient visits (with COVID-like symptoms).

According to the Union County Health Alert profile, during the past 14 days 40 COVID-19 cases have been reported, representing 31% of Union County’s total cases. Union County’s new cases per 100,000 residents per week had a sustained increase week over week for the past four weeks increasing from 17.3 new cases per 100,000 residents during the week June 24-30 to 39.8 new cases per 100,000 residents per week during the week of July 8-14. The number of people seeking outpatient medical care due to COVID-19 symptoms also grew from an average of 6 visits per day to 8 visits per day from June 23 to July 11.

The Union County Health Department and our state partners have been continuously monitoring the evolving situation and looking for trends in the data since late February. As we have moved through the pandemic and gathered more data, the alert system shares trend information with our residents. Trend data helps indicate when increased vigilance is needed to protect as many Union County residents as possible.

The Public Health Alerts for each county are issued weekly on Thursdays by the Governor’s Office. Staying informed of the situation within the community and increasing our vigilance in practicing risk reduction precautions can help us reduce the overall risk level within our community.

To work to change the recent upward trends, Union County residents should continue to follow the below standard precautions to prevent the spread of infectious disease:
• Conduct a daily health check and stay home if you are sick.
• Maintain social distancing of at least 6 feet from non-household members.
• Wear face coverings in public, especially when social distancing is difficult to maintain.
• Increase your awareness when interacting with others not practicing social distancing.
• Avoid traveling to high-risk areas.
• Wash hands frequently with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
• Use hand sanitizer frequently.
• Avoid touching your face.
• Cover coughs or sneezes (e.g., into a tissue, or elbow).
• Symptom self-evaluation monitoring.

For local information regarding COVID-19, please visit www.uchdflu.wpengine.com. The most up-to-date state alert level map, as well as guidance and recommendations for citizens in those counties, can be found here. Ohioans can also call the ODH COVID-19 hotline with any questions or visit coronavirus.ohio.gov. The call center is open from 9:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. at 1-833-4-ASK-ODH (1-833-427-5634).

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