The Ohio Department of Health released its Ohio Public Health Advisory System map on Thursday, which showed Ashtabula County at level two, or orange, for the second week in a row.
The system monitors seven indicators. Counties are yellow if they have met none or one of the indicators, orange if they meet two or three, red if they meet four or five, and purple if they meet six or more indicators.
Ashtabula County has met the same two indicators for the last two weeks. The first, for five consecutive days of increasing new cases in the last three weeks, was met from Sept. 28 to Oct. 2, according to ODH. The second is for having more than 50 percent of cases come from non-congregate settings in one week.
There have been 23 new cases of COVID-19 reported in Ashtabula County in the last two weeks, according to ODH.
Ashtabula County Health Commissioner Ray Saporito said that it is possible the county will remain in orange for some time, due to the congregate vs non-congregate indicator. That indicator seems to punish counties for having cases under control in congregate settings, Saporito said.
The county is 87th out of 88 counties for the number of new cases per capita, Saporito said.
“With everything that’s gone on so far, and everything’s relative, I will take that,” he said.
That does not mean that county residents can relax, Saporito said.
“It’s no time to let our guard down, because we’re entering into colder weather, where we’re going to be indoors more,” Saporito said. “People will be in contact with each other more. The more people are in contact with each other, the more likely COVID-19 [and the] flu get transmitted between people.”
As of Friday, there were 698 cases reported in Ashtabula County since the start of the COVID-19 outbreak, according to ODH. There have been 103 hospitalizations in the county and 48 deaths. According to ODH, 610 are presumed to have recovered.
One new case of COVID-19 was reported among students at Geneva Area City Schools, the only new case reported at schools this week, according to data from the Ohio Department of Health. There have been a total of three cases of COVID-19 at the Geneva Area City Schools, and a total of seven cases among county students, according to ODH.
A few students had to quarantine because of the positive test, Geneva Superintendent Eric Kujala said.
“It was really isolated to that one student that had a positive case,” he said. “No other students ended up getting symptoms or ended up being exposed.”