Butler County coronavirus cases on the rise again, but county remains Level 2

Butler County’s coronavirus cases are rising after a decrease prevented the county from climbing to the highest level of the state’s new alert system last month, county data show.

The county, like most of the counties in Ohio, is at a Level 2, or orange, in the state’s color-coded public health advisory system. The level means there is increased exposure and spread of the coronavirus, and residents and visitors should exercise a high degree of caution.

Butler County was on the cusp of moving to the most serious Level 4 before data improved.

The state’s system reported Butler County had seen 360 new cases over the past two weeks, which equated to a per capita rate of 93.96 cases per 100,000 residents. The county was trending down in the Aug. 6 report with a per-capital rate of 84.04 cases per 100,000 residents.

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The average number of cases has been on the rise from Aug. 13 to 17, according to the Butler County General Health District’s epidemiology report released Thursday. The county saw about 160 new cases over those five days. Prior to Aug. 13, the average number of cases had been on the decline, according to the report.

On Thursday, the Butler County General Health District reported 3,402 confirmed and probable cases The county’s weekly epidemiology report shows 65 deaths as of Monday.

Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine said the virus is “primarily going down in the urban (areas) and primarily going up in the rural (areas).”

Butler County’s northern neighbor, Preble County, has moved to Level 3 based on 71 known virus cases over the past two weeks. It has recorded 269 cases for the entire pandemic, according to the state health department. Preble County schools are also starting the school year in-person.

“So basically 25 percent of their cases have arisen in the past two weeks,” DeWine said.

Holding up his cloth mask, the governor later in his press conference said, “This is the pathway to freedom ... . Our experience here in Ohio shows it works.”

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Preble County is one of 12 counties at Level 3, or red, which means there is “very high” COVID-19 exposure and spread, and activities should be limited as much as possible, according to the system. The remaining 28 counties are at Level 1, or yellow, which means there is active exposure and spread of the virus.

Fairfield (45014) had the most impacted ZIP code in the county related to the virus, but now the city’s cases are trending down, according to Thursday’s county epidemiology report.

In its July 14 epidemiology report, 23.5 percent of all Butler County cases were from the Fairfield ZIP code (45014). Hamilton’s ZIP code (45011), was the second-most affected with 20.1 percent of all confirmed cases. In Thursday’s report, the 45014 ZIP code dropped to have 19.3 percent, though it still leads Butler County in virus cases. The 45011 ZIP code dropped to 18.1 percent of all virus cases.

The 45044 (primarily Middletown and parts of Liberty Twp.) and 45069 (most of West Chester Twp.) ZIP codes are third and fourth in the percent of virus cases in the county at 14.9 percent and 12.1 percent, respectively.

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