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ASHLAND -- Ashland County is among 68 counties designated as "red" in the Thursday update of Ohio's color-coded Public Health Advisory System.

Ashland County triggered only three of seven indicators, but was again designated as high instance, causing it to be classified as "red" -- or under a level three public emergency. 

"We designed this system to really give a good indication of what was coming, but when most everything in Ohio is filled in (red) the value of this color code probably isn't probably as significant," Gov. Mike Dewine said at his Thursday afternoon press conference. 

He urged all Ohioans to recommit to precautions, such as mask-wearing and social distancing. 

Six of the seven counties surrounding Ashland County are also designated as "red," including Knox County that turned "red" for the first time. Huron County is the only one still designated "orange." 

Only Noble County, located in the Southeastern part of the state, remains "yellow." 

Franklin and Tuscararas Counties were on the "watch list" with potential to transition to "purple" or a level four public emergency next week. 

In its most recent update, the Ashland County Health Department reported 109 active cases of COVID-19 in Ashland County and 19 COVID-19 related deaths had been recorded. Three more death certificates were awaiting legal certificates. 

As of the Thursday, Nov. 5 update, there had been 570 COVID-19 cases in Ashland County residents. This is up from 537 on Monday, Nov. 2. The health department was then monitoring 365 Ashland County residents, who have been asked to quarantine. 

"A 'red' designation should absolutely affect the way that Ashlanders behave. It is a true sign that more of our neighbors are able to pass the virus on to others," Health Commissioner Heather Reffett said last week.

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