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Franklin County Moves Back To Level 4 Due To Severe COVID Spread

Columbus Public Health commissioner Dr. Mysheika Roberts announcing the city's state of emergency last March.
Nick Evans
/
WOSU
Columbus Public Health commissioner Dr. Mysheika Roberts announcing the city's state of emergency last March.

The state announced that Franklin County is back to purple, or Level 4 – the highest level in the public health advisory system designed to warn residents about COVID-19 spread.

Columbus city officials and doctors assured people that they do not want to shut down the economy or close businesses. Columbus Public Health Commissioner Doctor Mysheika Roberts said Franklin County met six of seven state criteria to enter Level 4 or purple.

“These facts include new cases per capita, sustained increase in new cases, sustained increase in non-congregate care settings, sustained increase in emergency department visits, sustained increase in outpatient visits, and sustained increase in hospitalization rates

Roberts said 35% of Franklin County residents have received at least one dose of the vaccine. She wants people to keep getting vaccinated so the health department can focus its efforts on other issues.

“We need to start focusing on some of the other issues that this pandemic has exposed – like mental health issues, like drug addiction, like housing instability, unemployment, and just the sense of normalcy we all crave,” Roberts says.

Roberts says people who are vaccinated can carry on with their daily activities as normal if they’re practicing standard COVID-19 precautions – wearing a mask, social distancing and washing their hands. She advises people to avoid gatherings where they cannot control the implementation of COVID-19 restrictions.

“I think another factor we all have to consider is the variants. We have variants now that are definitely more contagious than the virus that was circulating last summer, in the fall and in the winter.”

Roberts says getting vaccinated, wearing a mask and avoiding large gatherings remains the safest way to reduce COVID-19 spread.