Clark County health officials: Up to residents to prevent Level 4 Public Health Emergency

Local News

SPRINGFIELD, Ohio (WDTN) – Clark County is one of three Ohio counties in danger of moving to a purple Level 4 public health advisory, which would mean stricter state guidelines.

Clark County has met six out of the seven indicators for Level 4. Health officials say there are outbreaks in long-term care facilities, but most of the spread is happening in the community.

“It’s happening in people’s homes, it’s happening in their friends’ homes as they go to visit, we let our guard down,” Clark County Combined Health District Commissioner Charles Patterson said.

Patterson said there are a number of key factors setting the county on the path to Level 4.

He said there’s a rise in outpatient and ER visits, hospitalizations, and cases, with a high incidence of over 250 cases per 100,000 residents.

“We do have to do something different because what we’re doing today is not working,” Patterson said.

Patterson said one of the most worrisome factors is the number of deaths. There’s been 28 COVID-19 deaths in Clark County so far in October.

“If that doesn’t bring tears to your eyes, I don’t know what’s going to get your attention,” Patterson said.

In order to prevent the county going purple, Clark County Combined Health District is increasing contact tracing, distributing masks and continuing to stress the importance of following the guidelines.

Patterson said they will increase their messaging for wearing masks, social distancing and hand washing.

Patterson says no matter what his agency does though, it’s up to the residents of Clark County to make a difference.

“We’re pleading with them at this point to do the right thing and help us slow the spread of these cases,” Patterson said.

Sandy Fitzwater, who lives in Clark County, said she’s worried about what level four guidelines may look like.

“How is this going to affect us economically?” Fitzwater said. “Are our schools going to go back to virtual learning, which hasn’t been working real well? Is it going to affect more of our businesses being closed down, losing their jobs, losing their homes?”

Patterson said he will have conference calls with health officials over the next week to find out what Level 4 would look like and what can be done to slow the spread in the county.

According to the Ohio Department of Health’s coronavirus website, a Level 4 means severe exposure and spread and to only leave home for supplies and services.

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