The Public Health Advisory Alert System is a color-coded system designed by the Ohio Department of Health to supplement existing statewide orders through a data-driven framework to assess the degree of the virus’ spread and to engage and empower individuals, businesses, communities, local governments, and others in their response and actions.
  • Active exposure and spread
  • Follow all current health orders


  • Increased exposure and spread
  • Exercise high degree of caution
  • Follow all current health orders
  • Very high exposure and spread
  • Limit activites as much as possible
  • Follow all current health orders
  • Severe exposure and spread
  • Only leave home for supplies and services
  • Follow all current health orders

Richland County is at Level 3/Red for the second straight week as of October 8, 2020.

Facial coverings continue to be mandated in the entire state. This includes when in any indoor location that is not a residence; Outdoors and unable to consistently maintain a distance of six feet or more from individuals who are not members of their household; waiting for, riding, driving or operating public transportation, a taxi, a private car service or ride sharing vehicle. This does not apply to vehicles engaged in direct travel through a county that does not stop in that county.  (See this link About Cloth Face Coverings)

Richland Public Health as well the Governor’s Office and Ohio Department of Health continue to encourage all Richland County residents to limit activities as much as possible and follow all current health orders.

Level 1 health orders are as follows:

  • Conduct a daily health/symptom self-evaluation and stay at home if symptomatic.**
  • Maintain social distancing of at least 6 feet from non-household members.
  • Wear face coverings in public, especially when social distancing is difficult to maintain.
  • Increase caution when interacting with others not practicing social distancing or wearing face covers.
  • Avoid traveling to high-risk areas.
  • Follow good hygiene standards, including:
    • Wash hands frequently with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
    • Use hand sanitizer frequently.
    • Avoid touching your face.
    • Cover coughs or sneezes (e.g., into a tissue, or elbow).
    • Symptom self-evaluation monitoring.

Level 2 health orders are all of the above and include:

  • Avoid contact with anyone who is considered high-risk.
  • High-risk individuals should take extra care to follow precautions.
  • Decrease in-person interactions outside household.
  • Seek medical care as needed, but limit or avoid unnecessary visits to hospitals, nursing homes, and residential care facilities to see others as much as possible.

Level 3 health orders are all of the above and include:

  • Limit attending gatherings of any number.
  • Conduct a daily health/symptom self-evaluation and stay at home if symptomatic.

**Per CDC, symptoms include fever or chills, cough, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, fatigue, muscle or body aches, headache, new loss of taste or smell, sore throat, congestion or runny nose, nausea or vomiting, and diarrhea. This list of symptoms can change as more is learned about COVID-19, and CDC updates this list on its website at

Looking for cloth face masks or making some for distribution? Here is a link to where they are keeping track of that. 

Need guidance on how to make your own mask or how to use a mask? Here’s a link to that information.

Public Health Advisory Alerts: The Public Health Advisory System announces alerts as to the level of the Public Emergency that is based upon the indicators triggered. The alert levels are as follows:

  • Level 1 (Yellow): 0-1 Public Health Advisory indicators triggered.
  • Level 2 (Orange): 2-3 Public Health Advisory indicators triggered.
  • Level 3 (Red): 4-5 Public Health Advisory indicators triggered; however, a county in this category cannot improve its risk level unless it also drops below the CDC’s threshold for high incidence (100 cases per 100,000 over the last 2 weeks).
  • Level 4 (Purple): 6 or more Public Health Advisory indicators triggered during two reporting periods in a row. However, a county in this category cannot improve its risk level until it has not triggered 6 or more indicators for two consecutive reporting periods.

Public Health Advisory System: The Ohio Public Health Advisory System was established to increase the information available to Ohioans about their COVID-19 risk at the county level. Ten key indicators across five data categories will be used to assess a community’s COVID-19 risk. These key indicators are to be analyzed regularly by the Ohio Department of Health to look for changes. The five data categories and ten key indicators are:

Data Category

Key Indicators


  • New cases per capita
  • Sustained increases in new cases
  • Proportion of cases not in congregate setting


Sustained increase in Emergency Department (ED) visits for COVID-like illness

Sustained increase in outpatient visits for COVID-like illness


  • Sustained increase in new COVID hospital admissions
  • Intensive Care Unit (ICU) bed occupancy

Contact Tracing

Rate of new cases from contacts of known cases (still under development)


Tests per capita (still under development)       Percent positivity (still under development)

Additional analyses are performed to augment these key indicators with more qualitative information that will not only give context to the data, but will also be used in response efforts. For example, scope and control of local outbreaks, proximity to other communities at higher risk levels, and other relevant criteria will be reviewed. While this information may reflect localized or isolated surges, it is not intended to replace real-time epidemiologic investigation and clinical response by local health officials and healthcare providers.


Each risk level includes enhanced guidance and strong recommendations for individuals and businesses. Individuals and communities should have the ability to take appropriate steps to protect their health if the recommendations are followed. We are all living with COVID-19. The Public Health Advisory System will remain in place until COVID-19 is no longer a threat to the health and well-being of Ohioans. The risk levels and the corresponding enhanced guidance and recommendations, as they may hereafter be amended, are located at and incorporated herein by reference.

For more information about the Ohio Public Health Advisory System, visit

For more information about the coronavirus situation in Richland County visit  and follow the coronavirus links in the sliders at the top of the page.

If you have questions, call the Ohio Department of Health COVID-19 Call Line 1-833-427-5634. The call line is open from 9:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. each day, including weekends.


See All Our Coronavirus Information Pages on this Website (see below)