Nick McWilliams reporting – A total of five counties have been added to Level 4 or purple with the latest Ohio Public Health Advisory System.

Tuscarawas County’s neighbor to the north, Stark, has over 11,000 cases, around 700 hospitalized and over 230 deaths by the latest count.

Ohio Governor Mike DeWine says that while the map will be continually updated, given how widespread COVID is in Ohio, the new updates are starting to take a backseat to other data.

“It does not have as much relevance as it did when we started. What does have the relevance is when you look at where are we in regards to hospital utilization and are hospitals filling up. Particularly in regards to ICU. That tells us what’s the danger to our hospitals, and therefore, to all of us?”

Tuscarawas remained at Level 3, still holding the same high-incidence designation as all other counties in the state.

DeWine adds that for the first time since April, positivity rates in the state have reached 15 percent, leading to issues related to travel.

“The state has seen record levels of cases, hospitalizations and deaths over the past week. And all Ohioans can help limit the spread and impact of this virus. This includes recommendations to stay at home, except for necessary trips for supplies.”

For residents in affected counties, health officials advise residents to only leave their homes when absolutely necessary.

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