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COVID-19 cases on the rise in Northeast Ohio: Several counties once again have 'high' community spread

Ashtabula, Erie, Lorain, Mahoning, Medina, and Trumbull are in the CDC's 'orange' zone, meaning residents in those areas are advised to wear face masks indoors.

CLEVELAND — As we move into the holiday season and the weather gets colder, COVID-19 cases again appear to be on the rise in Northeast Ohio, and some residents are being urged to take further precautions.

According to the CDC, Ashtabula, Erie, Lorain, Mahoning, Medina, and Trumbull counties are now all at a "high" community level for the coronavirus, meaning they continue to see higher than normal case loads or hospitalizations (or both). The center's guidelines now recommend people in those areas wear face masks while in indoor public spaces, regardless of vaccination status.

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To meet the high "orange" threshold, counties must either see at least 20 new COVID hospitalizations per 100,000 residents in a given week or a combination of both 200 new cases and 10 new hospitalizations per capita. Mahoning and Trumbull have both been in the high zone for the last few weeks due to high hospital numbers, while the other four regions are only joining them just now due to more cases.

The numbers shake out as follows:

  • Ashtabula: 219.04 cases per 100K, 15.9 new hospitalizations
  • Erie: 253.14 cases per 100K, 11.2 new hospitalizations
  • Lorain: 205.59 cases per 100K, 11.2 new hospitalizations
  • Mahoning: 195.03 cases per 100K, 21.3 new hospitalizations
  • Medina: 203.06 cases per 100K, 11.5 new hospitalizations
  • Trumbull: 165.17 cases per 100K, 21.3 new hospitalizations

Cuyahoga County's numbers are also going up, but the area is still at a "medium" community level with 187.68 cases and 15.9 hospitalizations per capita in the last seven days. It is joined in the "yellow" zone by Geauga, Huron, Lake, Portage, and Summit counties, while all other places in Northeast Ohio are at the lowest "green" threshold.

Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine did not enact any new mask or health mandates all the previous times counties went "orange" in the spring and summer (partly due to a controversial new law limiting his pandemic powers), and is unlikely to do so this time. However, private businesses and establishments across the state are still largely free to enact their own policies, and experts do say those in "yellow" zones may want to think about masking if either they or someone they regularly interact with is immunocompromised.

The state of Ohio reported more than 9,000 new coronavirus cases last Wednesday, a period of only six days due to Thanksgiving. The newest statistics coming this Thursday will reflect an eight-day period.

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