COLUMBUS (WCMH) — The Ohio Department of Health has released the latest number of COVID-19 cases in the state.
As of Saturday, Sept. 26, a total of 150,009 (+1,115) cases have been reported in Ohio since the pandemic began, leading to 4,740 (+6) deaths and 15,185 (+58) hospitalizations. The state says there are 129,498 people presumed to have recovered from the virus.
The Department of Health adds the data when it is informed of a case or death. The information is backdated to the actual date the person started exhibiting symptoms or the date the person died.
Delaware County moved to red on the state’s Public Health Advisory System this past week. Other counties newly in the red are Ashland, Pike, Scioto, and Stark.
The Ohio Public Health Advisory System consists of four levels:
- Level 1 — Yellow — active exposure and spread of COVID-19
- Level 2 — Orange — increased exposure and spread of COVID-19
- Level 3 — Red — very high exposure and spread of COVID-19
- Level 4 — Purple — severe exposure and spread of COVID -19
Since the Ohio Public Health Advisory System was established in July, no county has reached Level 4, the most severe level of COVID-19 spread.
Counties remaining in the red are Butler, Mercer, Montgomery, and Putnam. Dropping from red to the orange level is Portage County. Franklin, Licking, Fairfield, and Pickaway counties remained at an orange alert level.
Gov. Mike DeWine announced expanded recommendations for COVID-19 testing at the state’s colleges and universities. It includes regularly testing a random 3% sample population of their students every week.
“It’s important for them to know what’s going on on their campuses and what’s going on with their students off campus,” DeWine said.
DeWine also announced relaxed visitation rules at nursing homes and assisted living facilities starting Oct. 12. Ursel McElroy, director of the Department of Aging, said indoor visits will be allowed under certain circumstances, with visits scheduled in advance, in an approved area and for a maximum of 30 minutes.
Rules will be relaxed, too, at intermediate care facilities run by the state department of developmental disabilities. These changes are all in mind that outdoor visits will be harder during the fall and winter.
DeWine said he is working with state lawmakers on acquiring funding aimed at mental health services for students at schools, colleges and universities. He is expecting to have further details on those efforts next week.
DeWine said he is going to look into recommendations for quarantining blocks of students after a positive COVID-19 case at a school. This week, 50 high school students in Granville were told to stay home after two students tested positive.
Lt. Gov. Jon Husted announced two changes to high school sports. First, teams will now be allowed to play more than one game in a day. Second, Husted said that host venues are being ordered to comply with local inspectors, who have the authority to end games if all protocols are not being followed.