COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) — Health Commissioners urged Columbus and Franklin County residents to stay at home through December 18 due to high levels of COVID-19.

Dr. Mysheika Roberts and Joe Mazzola, the Franklin County Health Commissioners, said that although the county moved from purple to red it’s important to remember that risks are high.

“We find ourselves in an elevated plateau – meaning we are currently holding at considerably high levels of new cases, hospitalizations, ICU bed occupancy and outpatient visits,” the commissioners said in a joint e-mail statement. “Cases remain very high at 627 cases per 100,000 residents, compared to a month ago when the average was only 267.

“Our positivity rate also now stands at 18 percent — up from 14 percent just one week ago,” the statement said.

The stay at home advisory means people should only leave home to go to work, school, get medical care, and pick up food and medicine. Don’t have guests and avoid traveling. Wear a mask anytime you are outside your home, keep six feet between you and other people, and wash your hands often.

The advisory says social events should be limited to 10 people both inside and outside.

“In Franklin County, we are at a critical time and we all are on the frontlines of this fight against COVID-19. Please join us to protect the health of our community,” the statement concluded.