CLEVELAND — Fresh off of the Ohio Department of Health's report that the state's new cases of COVID-19 surged to more than 29,000 in the last week, several counties in Northeast Ohio are listed by the CDC as being at a 'high' community level.
New on the list is Cuyahoga County, which the CDC reports has a COVID case rate of 228.08 per 100,000 residents as well as 15.1 new COVID-related hospital admissions per capita over the past seven days.
Seven other Northeast Ohio counties are also in the 'orange' or 'high' category of COVID-19 community level:
- Erie - 270.35 cases per 100K, 13.6 new hospitalizations
- Huron - 229.98 cases per 100K, 13.6 new hospitalizations
- Lorain - 284.35 cases per 100K, 13.6 new hospitalizations
- Mahoning - 174.04 cases per 100K, 24.6 new hospitalizations
- Portage - 229.59 cases per 100K, 12.1 new hospitalizations
- Richland - 288.89 cases per 100K, 10.9 new hospitalizations
- Trumbull - 178.81 cases per 100K, 24.6 new hospitalizations
This means the agency is now advising all residents within these counties to wear masks while in indoor public spaces, regardless of COVID vaccination status. In addition, those with compromised immune systems are warned to think twice about taking part in non-essential activities due to an increased risk of getting severely ill.
This week's data shows that all but two of the counties listed above have seen at least 200 new COVID-19 infections per 100,000 residents over the previous seven days, meaning the hospitalization threshold to get into this "orange" zone is lower. (20.0 is needed when the case figure is below 200).
Just nine counties in the Buckeye State are at the lowest "green" level, including Stark and Wayne in Northeast Ohio. Medina County moved down from 'high' to 'medium,' joining Summit, Lake, Geauga, Ashtabula, and Richland counties. The 'medium' level indicates masks aren't recommended for all people but those who are immunocompromised should proceed with more caution.
Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine did not enact any new mask or health mandates the last time counties went "orange" late in the spring (partly due to a controversial new law limiting his pandemic powers), and is unlikely to do so this time. However, Cuyahoga County Executive Armond Budish did order all employees and visitors to wear face coverings inside government buildings for about a week in June, and private businesses and establishments across the state are still largely free to enact their own policies.