Dropping from purple to red is not all good news for Franklin County

Coronavirus

COLUMBUS (WCMH) — Two weeks ago, Franklin County became the first in Ohio to move to purple in the state’s public health advisory system. On Thursday, it became the first county to move back down to red.

But one of Gov. Mike DeWine’s advisers on the coronavirus pandemic, Dr. Andy Thomas of Ohio State’s Wexner Medical System, said that is no reason for those in Central Ohio to relax.

“This does not mean by any means that Franklin County is out of the woods,” Thomas said. “We still have a rate of cases in the past two weeks in our county which is six times higher than the definition of high-incidence of infections per 100,000 people by the CDC.

“That is not good. We are not on our way down yet.”

In the 14-day period from Nov. 18 to Dec. 1, Franklin County stood at 626.7 cases per 100,000 people.

Thomas cautioned that Franklin County’s numbers could have been skewed by testing centers being closed for the Thanksgiving holiday.

“There are some changes that went on with testing last weekend because of the holiday where some of our case numbers per day look a little down over the last couple of days,” Thomas said, “but I think that’s more a feature of a number of the testing sites were closed over Thanksgiving.”

Thomas said those numbers may bounce back up over the next week, but for now, he was happy to share in some positive news with DeWine.

“We’re just now — today, tomorrow and through the weekend — going to start seeing the impact of Thanksgiving in that spread,” Thomas said. “Going from purple to red is better than the alternative. However, it is still red.”

The public health advisory system, developed by the Ohio Department of Health, uses four levels to describe the spread of the virus in each of Ohio’s 88 counties: yellow (active exposure), orange (increased exposure), red (very high) and purple (severe).

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