The state is rolling out a new public health advisory system to identify counties experiencing a higher spread of coronavirus. Gov. Mike DeWine hopes the new notification system can drive policies to help mitigate the spread of COVID-19.
The new system tracks indicators of COVID-19 spread, such as new cases per capita and sustained increases of hospital admissions.
If a county hits several indicators then the state issues an alert ranging from levels 1 to 4.
Level 1 - Active exposure and spread
Level 2 - Increased exposure and spread
Level 3 - Very high exposure and spread
Level 4 - Severe exposure and spread
So far seven counties are on a Level 3 public emergency, those counties are; Butler, Cuyahoga, Franklin, Hamilton, Huron, Montgomery, and Trumbull.
DeWine hopes this advisory system encourages people to practice social distance and wear masks.
"I think it should fire people up. I think it should get people excited and say 'Hey, we're tougher than this. We are not going to let this happen to our state. We are not going to be Florida. We are not going to be Texas. We are not going to be Italy. We are not going to let this happen," says DeWine.
Watch: DeWine discusses Ohio's new Public Health Advisory System
The state is using seven indicators to track the level of exposure and spread of COVID-19:
- New cases per capita
- Sustained increase new cases
- Proportion of cases in non-congregate setting
- Sustained Increase in ER visits
- Sustained Increase Outpatient
- Sustained Increase New COVID-19 Hospital admissions
- ICU Occupancy
"This thing could go one way or the other. And we can control it collectively by what we do every single day. So this is a crisis, we cannot describe it any other way. Wear a mask, keep a distance, be careful, be smart," says DeWine.
The governor commends city leaders in Dayton and Columbus who are requiring masks and says he's still ready to make statewide orders if needed.