Athens Co. Upgraded To Level 3 On Public Health Advisory System,14 New COVID-19 Cases For July 16

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ATHENS, Ohio (WOUB) — Athens County is now considered to be in a Level 3 Public Emergency approaching Level 4, according to the Ohio Public Health Advisory System.

Gov. Mike DeWine said that the county has had more cases of COVID-19 in the last two weeks than it has had during the entirety of the pandemic.

“It’s really concerning,” he said during his health briefing Thursday.

The number of people visiting their doctors with COVID-19 symptoms has increased by 700 percent over the last three weeks, according to DeWine.

A Level 3 designation means that there is very high risk for exposure and spread of COVID-19.

The Ohio Public Health Advisory System map for July 16
The Ohio Public Health Advisory System map for July 16. [Ohio Department of Health]
The levels are based on seven indicators from the state:

  • New cases per capita
  • Sustained increase in new cases
  • Proportion of cases (not including cases in prisons and long-term care facilities)
  • Sustained increase in emergency room visits
  • Sustained increase in outpatient visits
  • Sustained increase in new COVID-19 hospital admissions
  • Intensive care unit bed occupancy

According to the state, a county earns a Level 3 designation after triggering four or five of the indicators.

Athens County, along with 18 other counties, will be under a mask mandate that applies to when people are in public spaces beginning at 6 p.m. Friday, July 17 until it is downgraded to Level 2 or lower.

The county has now had 234 cases of COVID-19 since the beginning of the pandemic after 14 additional cases were confirmed Thursday.

The Athens City-County Health Department announced the cases in a press release sent July 16.

No demographic information was provided by the health department regarding the cases.

An analysis of ODH data indicates 12 of the cases confirmed Thursday involved people aged 20-29, one involved a person aged 30-31 and one involved a person aged 50-59.

A graphic shows COVID-19 cases in Athens County
[Athens City-County Health Department]
The local health department said after the county’s first confirmed case on March 26 that investigations into patients’ close contacts would be conducted.

There are 176 known active cases in the county as of Thursday. There are 57 recovered cases, according to the health department. Ten people in the county have had to be hospitalized since the start of the pandemic. There has been one death related to COVID-19 in the county that happened in March.

Anyone experiencing respiratory symptoms is asked to call their primary care physician, urgent care, or emergency department before arriving for care to let them know that they believe they are experiencing symptoms related to COVID-19 virus.

An age breakdown of Athens Co. COVID-19 cases for July 16.
An age breakdown of Athens Co. COVID-19 cases for July 16. [ODH]
The Ohio Department of Health announced 70,601 confirmed and probable cases of COVID-19 statewide as of Thursday at 2 p.m. There have been 9,324 hospitalizations and 3,103 reported deaths.

The DOH makes the following recommendations to protect yourself from illness:

  • Wash hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds; dry hands with a clean towel or air dry hands.
  • Use alcohol-based hand sanitizer when soap and water are unavailable.
  • Cover your mouth with a tissue or sleeve when sneezing or coughing. Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Avoid contact with people who are sick.

Ohio’s coronavirus call center is open to answer questions from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily. The hotline number is 1-833-4-ASK-ODH or 1-833-427-5634. More information is available at