Richland County Red in Advisory System but Seventh Worst for Cases

December 29, 2020 – After three weeks at Level4/Purple in the Ohio Public Health Advisory System (OPHAS), Richland County has moved back to Level 3/Red on December 24, 2020. At this level, residents are advised to exercise a high degree of caution and to limit activities as much as possible to help slow the spread of the virus.

Despite hitting only three of the OPHAS’s seven indicators, Richland County will stay at Level 3 until new cases per capita drops below 100 cases over two weeks per 100,000 population. Currently Richland County is at 1,024.32 case per 100,000, the seventh worst county in Ohio.

All 88 counties in Ohio are flagged for high incidence for spread of COVID-19 and only four counties are not at Level 3. While there are some differences across counties, most counties in Ohio have worsened on these measures since the fall and remain at unacceptably high levels of spread. The current impact on the healthcare system is severe and unsustainable.

The Ohio Department of Health released the following statement on December 24: The OPHAS was designed as an early warning system to measure when cases and healthcare use were escalating. Today, those measures are all at an elevated plateau and the advisory system does not accurately reflect the sustained high levels.  At the beginning of August, the statewide average of cases per capita during the previous two weeks was at 101. As of this week’s update, the statewide average is 769 cases per 100,000 residents during the past two weeks. There also are 7 counties that are at 1000 or more, which means that at least 1 out of every 100 residents has tested positive for COVID during the past two weeks and are at risk of spreading it to others. Intensive Care Units (ICU) are reserved for patients who are severely ill—whether from COVID-19 or from other diseases. At the beginning of August, about 12% of Ohio’s ICU patients were COVID-19 positive, or 1 out of every 8. Now, that number is up to 31%. That means that today, 1 out of every 3 ICU patients is COVID-19 positive. (Please see key-measures.pdf below)

Richland County residents should follow the recommended guidelines to reduce the spread of the pandemic:

  • Stay at home; necessary travel only.
  • Wear a face covering (cloth mask) if you must be out in the public.
  • Must wear a face covering (cloth mask) when entering a retail business or grocery
  • Maintain social distancing of at least 6 feet from non-household members.
  • 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.
  • Decrease in-person interactions with others.
  • Limit attending gatherings of any number.
  • Conduct a daily health/symptom self-evaluation and stay at home if symptomatic.
  • 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.

To fight the spread of the coronavirus, Ohio Governor Mike DeWine:

  • Revised the Mandatory State mask order on November 11 to require businesses to ensure that customers and employees are wearing masks.
  • Revised the Order to Limit and/or Prohibit Mass Gatherings in the State of Ohio on November 17 that prohibits public and private gatherings of greater than 10 people outside of a single residence.
  • Ordered all retail businesses to enforce a curfew at 10 p.m. and not to reopen until 5 a.m. the next morning for 21 days starting November 19.

Additional Guidelines:

  1. Self-monitor for symptoms of COVID19.  Get tested if you develop symptoms.
    • If you have been in contact with someone that has recently tested positive for COVID19 or someone with COVID19 symptoms, stay home 14 days after your last contact with that person and monitor yourself for symptoms.
    • If you are tested for COVID-19 during the quarantine period and test negative, you need to remain in quarantine for the full 14 day period in case symptoms develop.
    • If you are diagnosed with COVID-19, remain in isolation for 10 days after symptoms start and resolution of fever for at least 24 hours, without the use of fever-reducing medications, and with improvement of other symptoms.
    • For additional quarantining and isolation guidelines (with updates) see:
  1. There is an increased risk of severe illness from COVID-19 among older adults and those who:
  • Have a chronic illness such as asthma or diabetes
  • Are obese or overweight
  • Smoke or have a history of smoking

Avoid contact with anyone who is considered high-risk to protect them.

Stores should consider offering hours available for seniors only shopping to reduce exposure risk

  1. Get your annual flu shot (call 419-774-4700 to make an appoint at Richland Public Health)
  2. Limit in-person interactions with others. Consider alternative events for New Year’s celebrations, avoid close contact with those outside of your household.
  3. Limit attending gatherings of any number.  Consider postponing gatherings like wedding receptions or parties with extended groups of family and friends. This will help to prevent transmission of the virus during the holidays.
  4. For schools that are providing hybrid or full in-person education and/or holding extracurricular activities or sporting events, paying special attention to safety precautions is essential. Students should not gather in groups outside the schools setting and school activities.
  5. Consider working remotely where options are available.

For more information about the coronavirus situation in Richland County visit and follow the coronavirus links in the sliders. See for updated information on quarantining and isolation.

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

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.