COVID cases

ASHLAND -- Ashland County remains designated red in the Ohio Public Health Advisory System while other counties transition to orange and yellow rankings.

According to the system's Thursday update, Ashland County triggered five of the seven indicators used to monitor the spread of COVID-19 in each of Ohio's 88 counties.

The state updates the OPHAS numbers each Thursday. The release of the information was delayed this week due to technical problems with the software that powers the state's COVID-19 dashboard.

Yesterday, the system noted that five indicators were triggered. These were new cases per capita, new cases increase, non congregate cases, emergency department visits and outpatient visits.

Last week, only four of the seven indicators were triggered.  The indicator that was not triggered last week was outpatient visits.

This outpatient visits indicator is flagged if there is increasing trend of at least five consecutive days in the number of people going to a health care provider with COVID symptoms who then receive a COVID confirmed or suspected diagnosis over the last three weeks. On March 23, the number of outpatient visits was recorded as 6.57 -- the average number over the previous five days. 

Ashland county recorded 86 cases, or 160.8 per 100,000 residents, in the Thursday report. This is down from last week's 104 new cases, or 194.45 per 100,000 residents, in a two week span. The indicator is flagged if the county sees greater than 50 cases per 100,000 residents over the last two weeks, and the county is considered "high incidence" if more than 100 cares per 100,000 residents are recorded. 

Though triggered, the numbers that factor in the new cases increase indicator have most recently been decreasing.  It is flagged if there is an increasing trend of at least five consecutive days in overall cases by the onset date over the last three weeks. From March 13 to March 23, the number of cases dropped from 8.86 to 4.43. 

All the cases seen in Ashland County over the past three weeks were outside of congregate settings, which triggered an indicator, and the sustained increate in emergency department visits relates to a seven day average that peaked at 2.14 cases on March 14. The latter of the two indicators is flagged if there is an increasing trend of at least five consecutive days in the number of visits to the emergency department with COVID-like illness or a diagnosis over the last three weeks.

The indicators not flagged related to hospital admissions and ICU bed usage. 

On Thursday, as conditions continue to improve, there were two "yellow," or level one counties, one of which was Holmes. There were also 31 "orange" counties, including Knox, Morrow and Wayne.

Nearby Richland and Crawford counties remained "red" this week.

Statewide, the state reported 146.9 new cases per 100,00 residents, up slightly from 143.8 a week ago. Gov. Mike DeWine has said he will lift all statewide health restrictions, including a mask mandate, when the number of new cases dips below 50 per 100,000.

The percentage of those testing positive has remained flat at around 3 percent for the past month.

Vaccinations continue to ramp up around the state. The ODH reported 3,028,527 have started the vaccine, or about 26 percent of the population.

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