New health data compiled by the Ohio Department of Health found that 43 counties currently have a very high risk of exposure and spread (Red Level 3), up from 38 counties last week. This represents the highest number of Red Level 3 counties since the launch of the advisory system in July. As of yesterday, 78 percent of Ohioans are living in a Red Level 3 county. Less than 1 percent of Ohioans live in a Yellow Level 1 county. "Despite the grim data that we see today, I am confident that we can slow down this invader," said Governor DeWine. "The decisions Ohioans make each day will determine the outcome of this battle. We must mask more, keep distance more, and simply be more careful. We can control our destiny."
I know that there is COVID-19 fatigue. We all want to see those we love, get out of our houses, and get back to doing the work the way we love best, face-to-face and hands-on. However, now is the time for us to remain vigilant. We have, so far, been very successful in offering our programs virtually (when feasible), or in-person when we need to come together. You have done a tremendous job of planning programs and working in our offices in ways that keep one another and our clientele safe. Please be especially careful to follow and encourage our most useful and effective safety measures (distancing, masks, and sanitizing). Now is not the time to let up. We can reach others and keep doing our educational outreach, while also doing what we know contains the spread. Be sure to visit the Ohio Public Health Advisory System regularly when planning your programs to ensure you are making the most informed local decisions about safety. We want you and those we serve to remain healthy and safe for years to come.
Additional resources have been added here to help continue to make others aware of best practices.