Union County remained at an “Orange” Level 2 public health alert yesterday on Ohio’s Public Health Alert System. An orange alert is intended to inform our community the risk for exposure is moderate. As we move through this pandemic, we anticipate shifting between the Level 1 and Level 2 alerts. We will continue to monitor the alert levels and local data sources closely. We will continue to push out information if and when we see data trending in the wrong direction.

An orange alert means a county has met 2 or 3 of the 7 early warning indicators. Union County is meeting the following 2 alert indicators.

1) Non-Congregate Cases – More than 50% of new cases were in the community at-large rather than in congregate settings at least one week during the past three weeks.

2) New Cases Per Capita – Union County’s new cases per capita increased and remained above the threshold. Union County reported 61.03 new cases per 100,000 residents over the past two weeks. (The CDC threshold for moderately high disease activity is 50 new cases per 100,000 people over the past 2 weeks).

Indicators for COVID-19 related hospitalizations, emergency room visits, ICU patients, and outpatient visits all remain low.

Good news is that neighboring Franklin County has decreased from red to orange. This now means all neighboring counties are at a yellow or orange level. With so much of our workforce and community crossing county lines each day, this is important for Union County.

Performance Arts & Entertainment Re-Opening with Limitations: The Ohio Department of Health issued new orders allowing the re-opening of performance art and entertainment venues with restrictions. To view the order, go to https://coronavirus.ohio.gov/static/publicorders/DO-Entertainment-Venue.pdf.

Sports Order: The Ohio Department of Health released an updated sports order this week. Over the course of the past two weeks, the Union County Health Department has been working closely with our school partners to answer questions and address challenges presented by the order. This week, we have also engaged our community partners to discuss and being thinking about the implementation of the orders for our youth and adult sports programs outside the school setting. To view the sports order, go to https://coronavirus.ohio.gov/static/publicorders/DO-Sports-First-Amended-08.28.20.pdf

Travel Advisory Map: The travel advisory map issued this week by the State of Ohio includes four states. These states each have a 15% or greater positivity rate indicating significant disease activity: Idaho, Mississippi, South Carolina, Texas

If you are entering or returning to Ohio from travel to one of these states, a 14-day self-quarantine is advised. Locally, we continue to see new cases of COVID-19 associated with domestic travel to states with higher risk levels. In several instances, this travel is resulting in additional local cases as the individual returns home and attends family gatherings or social activities. It is important to monitor for symptoms upon your return home from travel and avoid others if you are not feeling well upon return and for two weeks after return. This step is critical in trying to reduce the likelihood of new sources of infection within our community. We know many families and residents have done a risk assessment and adjusted their traditional summer travel plans, opting for a plan that has less risk for their family. We sincerely appreciate each of these efforts being made within our community.

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