Although the number of active cases of COVID-19 continue to drop in Delaware County, it is still under a red alert, according to the state of Ohio. What does this conflicting information mean?
On Sept. 25, the Delaware General Health District posted on its Facebook page, “Delaware County was deemed red today based on data that was pulled Sept. 7-14. Current data from this week shows our numbers are improving and heading in the right direction — so please keep doing your part!”
That means to mask up, wash up and keep your distance, the DGHD said.
Later that day, Health Commissioner Shelia Hiddleson wrote, “The data that we provide to you on a regular basis was beginning to trend in a positive direction and then we received the news that Delaware County was going to be moved to red according to the state’s public health alert system. Our post today was meant to show that, while we were moved to red based on particular data points, we’re making positive progress. Our intent was not to take a stance against the public health alert system, but simply encourage our community by sharing that our data trend is currently improving and to keep up the good work!”
On Monday afternoon, the DGHD reporter there are 156 active cases of COVID-19 in Delaware County. This is down from 158 on Friday and 215 a week ago.
Active cases are defined as people currently infected with the novel coronavirus, a combination of confirmed cases (lab-tested positive results) and probable cases (exhibiting symptoms that include chills, cough, fever, muscle pain, new loss of taste or smell, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, and sore throat).
Total cases, the number of confirmed cases (1,716) plus probable cases (291) are now at 2,007. Since reporting began in March, 4,425 people have completed isolation, and 468 people are currently in quarantine. In addition, seven people are currently hospitalized, and there have been 52 total hospitalizations. A 16th death was also reported over the weekend.
“We send our heartfelt, deepest condolences to the family during this time,” the DGHD said.
On Monday afternoon, the Ohio Department of Health’s coronavirus dashboard listed 2,306 total cases of COVID-19 in Delaware County. There have been 99 hospitalizations and 21 deaths in the county. The DGHD states the discrepancies in totals between it and the ODH are because the portions of Columbus, Dublin and Westerville that are in Delaware County are being handled by either Columbus Public Health or Franklin County Public Health.
The state of Ohio’s Public Health Advisory System level for Delaware County remains red, which means there is a high incidence of the spread of COVID-19 (also known as the novel coronavirus).
“More than 100 cases per 100,000 residents within the past two weeks qualify as high incidence,” the state’s coronavirus dashboard states. “Limit activities as much as possible.”
The Ohio Department of Health lists four levels of Public Emergency by color, and red is the next-to-worst level. In order of severity, Level 1 is yellow and means there is active exposure and spread; Level 2 is orange and means “increased exposure and spread. Exercise high degree of caution.” Level 3 is red and signifies “very high exposure and spread,” while Level 4 is purple for “sever exposure and spread. Only leave home for supplies and services.”
It is also noted that “a county that scores at a grade of red or purple cannot drop below red until it no longer qualifies as high incidence.” Eight other counties in the state are red, while most other counties are orange (including Franklin, Licking, Marion and Union) and yellow (Knox and Morrow).
Of Ohio’s 88 counties, neighboring Franklin County has the most cases with 27,119. Cuyahoga County, with the second-most cases at 17,554, has the most hospitalizations (2,582) and deaths (656) due to the novel coronavirus.
The ODH reported there were 151,802 positive cases in the state as of Monday, with 130,859 presumed recoveries. There have been 15,307 people hospitalized due to COVID-19, and 4,746 deaths in the state due to COVID-19.
The Johns Hopkins University of Medicine Coronavirus Resource Center said there are more than 33.2 million cases worldwide as of Monday. Globally, there have been 999,202 deaths from the pandemic. In the United States, there are now more than 7.1 million confirmed cases. A total of 204,861 Americans have died from the novel coronavirus.
For more information on the pandemic, visit DelawareHealth.org/Covid-19, coronavirus.ohio.gov or cdc.gov/coronavirus.
Gary Budzak may be reached at 740-413-0906 or on Twitter @GaryBudzak.