November 29, 2020
Health News

Will Franklin County go on ’purple alert’ for worst coronavirus spread in Ohio? – Fci Academy

Franklin County and Columbus could have its spike of coronavirus cases — while not an official designation — essentially declared out of control.
The state is scheduled to update its county-by-county virus spread and risk designations Thursday, which could bump Franklin County into the highest “purple” designation, a Level 4 outbreak.
While a purple alert would mean Franklin County residents should “only leave home for supplies and services,” the state has no automatic health orders or restrictions accompanying the rating.
However, Gov. Mike DeWine has signaled either he or local officials could impose more restrictions and closings if virus cases continue to spiral in hard-hit counties.
Franklin County was perilously close in the initial state evaluations released last week to becoming the first county to receive the worst coronavirus-risk assessment of “severe spread.” But it received a Level 3 rating.
That “red” designation — also bestowed on Butler, Cuyahoga, Hamilton, Huron, Montgomery and Trumbull counties — represents “very high exposure and spread.” Residents of those counties are asked to “limit activities as much as possible.”
Citing the ratings as signifying unacceptable spread of COVID-19, DeWine’s order for residents of the seven counties to wear face masks while in public took effect early Wednesday evening.
What more must happen, virus-wise, to turn Franklin County purple?
The county already has triggered five of the seven alert indicators used to evaluate counties and their virus spread and infection risk. Setting off one more indicator automatically would elevate the county to Level 4.
The state has flagged the county for three indicators concerning rising virus case totals, plus two separate indicators for increased emergency room and physician visits for COVID-19-like illnesses.
The two indicators between the county and a Level 4 designation involve rising hospitalizations and intensive-care-unit occupancy exceeding 80%.
The county’s ICU occupancy rate of its 810 beds typically exceeded 70% each day, but below 80%, in the initial evaluation released last week.
The hospitalization indicator would be triggered by a rising trend of virus admissions over five days, which the county nearly met last week. The state listed no numbers on county hospitalizations on the assessment.
Virus cases in Franklin County, the state leader in infections and deaths, have increased by nearly 3,000, or 37%, since June 21. Fatalities have risen 23%.
The county reported a higher-than-usual 292 new COVID-19 cases Wednesday for a pandemic total of 10,879, and eight more deaths to boost the number of fatalities to 439.
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