SPRINGFIELD, Ohio (WDTN) — Clark County was taken off the watch list Thursday and is no longer considered approaching a Level 4 Public Emergency, but health department officials don’t believe they’re out of the woods yet.
“Not going to purple is good news, but the rest of the news for our local staff is certainly not good at all,” said Charles Patterson, health commissioner of the Clark County Combined Health District.
In the past seven days, health department officials said they’ve had 217 new cases, breaking a new record in weekly cases. There have been 40 deaths in October, which is double the amount of any other month recorded. Additionally, COVID-related hospitalizations are at an all time high.
The health department says the decision to not proceed to purple could have to do with a lag in the data.
“I think there might be a lag in the data, which I think the governor has said plenty of times,” said Patterson. “It would certainly not be surprising to us if this week or the next week after we return to watch status or be put back into the same position again. Our local data certainly supports the fact that it’s never been worse on our citizens than it is now.”
Springfield residents voiced their frustration over the CDC guidelines but say the only way to decrease the spread is to abide by regulations.
“This whole pandemic has lasted over 200 days, more than what we thought and told (sic) in the beginning,” said Drew Collins, a resident of Springfield. “It’s really easy to have the mindset of enough is enough, but it’s still a very serious ongoing situation that’s continuing to get worse so we have to keep it in mind and be serious about it.”
Other residents believe the guideline responsibility should be placed in their own hands and say the mental health aspect could be bringing the community into a downward spiral.
“I think people who are at high-risk should be wearing masks at all times and social distancing, but people need to get back to work and back into their own communities,” said Grayson Collins, a resident of Springfield. “People are made to belong to their own community and the social distancing and mask wearing doesn’t help us mentally get back to normal, if anything it’s causing a lot more problems for mental health.”
The Health Department says there won’t be any new rules or regulations set for Clark County but they’re urging everyone not to ease up on current guidelines.
“What we’ve been doing so far hasn’t been enough to keep this at bay,” said Patterson. “If you haven’t been wearing a mask, now is the time to do it, we’re certainly coming on a time where things can get much much worse, and we don’t want to see that happen.”
The Clark County Emergency Management Agency will be distributing free masks to residents this weekend to help stop the spread of COVID-19.
The EMA will be hosting three distribution events, including:
- 3 p.m. to 5 p.m., Friday, Oct. 30, Springview Government Center, 3130 E. Main St., Springfield
- 3 p.m. to 5 p.m., Saturday, Oct. 31, Bethel Twp. Fire Department, 3333 Lake Road, Medway
- 1 p.m. to 3 p.m., Monday, Nov. 2, former Kroger parking lot, 1822 S. Limestone St., Springfield