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COVID-19 Update - December 17, 2020

December 17, 2020

Dan Tierney: 614-644-0957
Breann Almos: 614-799-6480

COVID-19 Update: Vaccines, New Advisory System Map, New Nurse PSAs

(COLUMBUS, Ohio)—Ohio Governor Mike DeWine today provided the following updates on Ohio's response to the COVID-19 pandemic. 


New health data compiled by the Ohio Department of Health shows sustained severe exposure and spread (Purple Level 4) in Richland County. Medina, Portage, Stark, and Summit counties all moved from Purple Level 4 to Red Level 3 this week. Governor DeWine cautioned that a decrease from Level 4 to Level 3 does not indicate that the situation in these counties is improving, but rather that healthcare indicators, such as hospitalizations, are plateauing at a very critical level. 

"Red and purple are not all that different," said Governor DeWine. "They both mean that a county has a very high level of cases and a very high level of COVID activity in the healthcare system. Purple simply indicates counties where things are worsening noticeably, but red counties are also at very worrisome and unsustainable levels."

Ohio Public Health Advisory System's website

A county-by-county breakdown outlining the presence of COVID-19 in all of Ohio's 88 counties can be found on the Ohio Public Health Advisory System's website.

When seeking to determine the level of risk in each county, Governor DeWine encouraged Ohioans to look more closely at the chart below which shows the number of positive cases per 1,000 residents. All 88 counties have a level of spread that is at least three times more than what the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) considers high incidence. The top 20 counties show rates of nine to 13 times the high-incidence level. 

All 88 counties ranked by occurrences.


Tomorrow, as part of the federal program to vaccinate nursing home residents and staff, facilities in Ohio will be among the first in the nation to receive vaccines through Walgreen’s, CVS, PharmScript, and Absolute Pharmacy. Ohio was invited by the CDC to participate in the scaling up of the federal program.


Governor DeWine unveiled a new public service announcement featuring four of Ohio's frontline nurses. The nurses describe what it’s like taking care of COVID patients in Ohio's hospitals.

The featured nurses are Erin Russo of Memorial Hospital in Marysville, Dara Pence of OhioHealth Riverside Methodist Hospital, Jasmine Shavers of Miami Valley Hospital, and Lisa Burich of St. Elizabeth Youngstown Hospital. 


In total, there are 596,178 confirmed and probable cases of COVID-19 reported in Ohio and 7,894 confirmed and probable COVID-19 deaths. A total of 33,745 people have been hospitalized throughout the pandemic, including 5,382 admissions to intensive care units. In-depth data can be accessed by visiting coronavirus.ohio.gov. 

Video of today's full update, including versions with foreign language translation, can be viewed on the Ohio Channel's YouTube page

For more information on Ohio's response to COVID-19, visit coronavirus.ohio.gov or call 1-833-4-ASK-ODH.