COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) — Every Ohio county is green on the Centers for Disease Control’s latest COVID-19 risk map, indicating that the federal health agency recommends no one needs to wear face coverings.
The new weekly map, published Thursday night, has all 88 counties at the lowest of three “community levels.” At green, the CDC leaves masks as a personal choice for everyone regardless of their risk to COVID-19.
In counties at a high community level (orange), people are urged to wear masks indoors. At medium (yellow), masks are possible for high-risk people if their doctor recommends it.
Even when a county is green, the agency still recommends residents stay up to date with vaccines and get tested if experiencing COVID-19 symptoms. The CDC’s guidance also does not override local, business or transportation mask requirements that may still be in place.
A month ago the CDC switched to its current orange-yellow-green color code for COVID-19 community levels, replacing the the former red-orange-yellow-blue palette. The new map is based more on hospitalizations (and the risk of being hospitalized) than cases.
This week is the first that all of Ohio is green. Last week, a handful of counties in southeastern Ohio were yellow.
The Ohio Department of Health on Thursday reported 3,668 coronavirus cases and 193 hospitalizations from the past week. At about 524 and 28 per day, respectively, they follow the recent downward trend since the omicron wave subsided.
ODH’s switch from daily to weekly reporting earlier this month took inspiration from the CDC’s updated data techniques and risk evaluation.
“Data scientists looked back over time and said, ‘What paradigm would help to best understand risk at a community level related to COVID-19, given the kind of data that we collect and is available?” ODH Director Dr. Bruce Vanderhoff said Thursday.