UPDATE: Harrison County sees “LEVEL 3 – RED” on the Ohio Public Health Advisory Level System for the first time

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CADIZ – With the Alert Level raised to RED, as of Thursday afternoon (Dec. 10), Harrison Hills City School District will go into “hybrid” mode.

Superintendent Dana Snider said that students with last names A-L will attend classes on Monday and Tuesday. Students with letters M-Z will attend classes Thursday and Friday. On Wednesday, Snider said teachers will conduct Google classrooms where students will go online.

Snide said she hopes this will only last for the coming week beginning on Dec. 14 will school breaks for the holidays after Friday (Dec. 18). But until then, the hybrid mode will go on until further notice. Classes resume on Jan. 4.

CADIZ OHIO – December 10, 2020: Today, Governor Mike DeWine and the Ohio Department of Health released the updated map for the Ohio Public Health Advisory system which indicated that Harrison County has been upgraded to a Risk Level 3 – Red County. “Risk Level 3 indicates very high exposure and spread. Activities should be limited as much as possible and all current health orders and Ohio COVID-19 Guidelines should be followed’, indicated Health District Administrator Garen Rhome. All 88 counties in Ohio remain at “high incidence” as defined by the Centers for Disease Control.

Health District Administrator Rhome stated, “Harrison County has increased to a Risk Level 3 because the following four indicators were flagged on the Ohio Public Health Advisory System: New Cases Per Capita, New Cases Increase, Non-Congregate Cases, and Regional Hospital ICU Bed Occupancy”. New Cases Per Capita: This was flagged because greater than 50 cases per 100,000 residents occurred over the last two weeks. This allows for counties with different population sizes to be appropriately compared.

The CDC defines “high incidence” as 100 cases per 100,000 residents. Harrison County saw 125 cases with an onset date of illness which fell in the 2-week timeframe and therefore had 831.12 cases when adjusted per 100,000 residents occurring in the last two weeks. Harrison County’s 125 cases during this timeframe is over eight times the CDC’s threshold for “high incidence.” New Cases Increase: This indicator reflects disease spread in our population and is flagged when there is an increasing trend of at least 5 consecutive days in overall cases during the last 3 weeks, using a 7-day moving average of new cases.

Harrison County saw a sustained increase in new cases for at least five days with an average of 7.3 cases on November 18, 2020 to 9.9 average cases by November 23, 2020.

Non-Congregate Cases: Harrison County also saw an increase of the proportion of cases not in congregate settings, which indicates greater risk of community spread. Harrison County was flagged for this indicator because at least one week of the last three weeks saw more than 50% new cases in non-congregate care settings. The week of 11/18- 11/24 we were at 93.88% of non-congregate care setting cases, the week of 11/25- 12/1 we were at 88.24%, and the week of 12/2-12/8 we were at 95%. ICU Bed Occupancy: Ohio is divided into eight distinct hospital regions. Harrison County is located in hospital region number eight. A county is flagged on this measure when the regional ICU occupancy goes above 80% for at least three of the last seven days, AND more than 20% of ICU beds are being used for COVID-19 positive patients for at least three of the last seven days. Harrison’s hospital region saw three days in the last week which met the indicator thresholds – 12/6, 12/7, and 12/8.

Residents are asked to follow all health orders, which can be found at coronavirus.ohio.gov, limit activities as much as possible, and follow the Ohio COVID-19 Risk Level Guidelines. All residents are advised to consider necessary travel only such as leaving home to go to work or school, or for essential needs such as seeking medical care, going to the grocery store or pharmacy, picking up food, or receiving deliveries. Residents should continue to wear face coverings and maintain social distancing of at least 6 feet from non- household members. Residents should also continue to follow good hygiene standards including: washing hands frequently with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, using hand sanitizer frequently, avoid touching their faces, cover their coughs and sneezes with a tissue, throw the tissue away and wash their hands, and clean high touch surfaces frequently – phones, doorknobs, light switches, cell phones, etc.

Businesses shall continue to follow the social distancing and mask-wearing requirements and shall post signage outlining face-covering requirements at all public entrances to the store. The business is responsible for ensuring that customers and employees are wearing masks. Additionally, employers are strongly encouraged to identify and accommodate as many employees as possible to work from home during this time and ensure they are prepared to accommodate employees who may need to isolate or quarantine due to COVID-19. Residents that are exhibiting any signs and symptoms of COVID-19 should shelter in their place of residence. They should not go to their workplace or congregate setting and shall only leave their place of residence to seek necessary clinical care.

COVID-19 symptoms include, but are not limited to, new onset of fever, cough, shortness of breath, congestion or runny nose, sore throat, new loss of taste or smell, body aches, or unusual fatigue. Residents diagnosed with COVID-19 must isolate for 10 days from the date of their symptom onset, or from the date of test collection, if asymptomatic.

In the home, sick or infected individuals should separate themselves from others by staying in a specific “sick room” or area, and use a separate bathroom, if available. Residents that have been identified as a contact of an individual diagnosed with COVID-19 should quarantine for one full incubation period (14 days) from the date of last contact to a positive individual. A fourteen-day quarantine is still the best practice recommended by the CDC and ODH – however, shorter quarantine duration may be suitable in some cases.

The Harrison County Health Department will advise quarantined individuals based on CDC and ODH guidelines. Individuals in quarantine should stay home, separate from others, and monitor their health by taking their temperatures twice daily and documenting potential COVID-19 symptoms. Residents who are either confirmed positive or a close contact should not wait to hear from the health department and immediately follow the guidance as described.

General COVID-19 Questions can be answered by calling: ODH Call Center: 1-833-427-5634 (1-833-4- ASK-ODH) 7-days 9AM-8PM. Visit coronavirus.ohio.gov as the Ohio Department of Health updates their numbers every day at 2pm and has helpful information regarding COVID-19. Also, visit the Harrison County Facebook page for daily updates.

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