OTTAWA — Putnam and Mercer counties remain under Level 3 (Red) public health alerts for another week, as the two counties continue to lead the state in the number of new cases per 100,000 people reported over the past two weeks.
This is now the third week that Putnam County will be under a Red alert, while Mercer County is now in its seventh consecutive week under the same.
Even though the situation in both counties has improved on several metrics, neither county can move back to Orange until they fall below the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s threshold for high incidence, set as 100 new cases per 100,000 residents in a 14-day period.
As of Tuesday, Putnam County led the state with 256 new cases per 100,000 people, while Mercer County reported 240 new cases per 100,000 people.
Ohio and the CDC use the 100,000-person metric to compare outbreaks in counties of unequal size.
Both counties continue to see high levels of community spread.
Ninety percent of Putnam County’s new cases in the last two weeks were coming from non-congregate settings, or community spread, rather than in long-term care facilities and prisons. In Mercer County, that number has fallen from near-100% community spread in August and early September to 65% as of Sept. 15.
Gov. Mike DeWine on Thursday attributed Putnam County’s epidemic to weddings and other large social gatherings, as well as transmission within households and between family members.
Allen County remains under a Level 2 (Orange) alert, although the county has seen an increase in outpatient visits for COVID-19-like symptoms in the last two weeks and now meets three of the seven indicators the Ohio Department of Health monitors for coronavirus outbreaks.
Counties that meet four indicators are moved from Orange to Red, and residents are encouraged to limit activities as much as possible.
Still, the number of new cases per capita in Allen County has fallen below 100 per 100,000 to 73 per 100,000 — an improvement from previous weeks.