Butler County remains among top counties with high coronavirus spread

A pop up coronavirus testing site was set up Thursday, July 23, 2020 at the corner of Symmes Road and Dixie Highway in Fairfield. NICK GRAHAM / STAFF

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A pop up coronavirus testing site was set up Thursday, July 23, 2020 at the corner of Symmes Road and Dixie Highway in Fairfield. NICK GRAHAM / STAFF

Butler County continues to remain among the top Ohio counties with the highest occurrences of the novel coronavirus.

The state’s seventh-largest county has 199.9 per capita cases, or 766, over the past two weeks, and Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine called the numbers among the top 20 counties “very alarming.”

The U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that counties should have 50 per capita cases or fewer.

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The county remained Thursday at Level 3, or red level, of the state’s color-coded public health advisory system for the sixth straight week. The county is one of 18 red-level counties, which is the highest number of Level 3 counties since July 23. Nearly the entire state is either at Level 3 or Level 2, or orange level. There are 12 counties at the Level 1, or yellow level, which represents roughly 4 percent of the state.

“The virus is spreading in more areas of the state and impacting a wider swath of Ohioans,” said DeWine, adding the spread is driven by everyday events, like family and friend gatherings at homes, after-school activities, athletics.

In half of the eight newly red counties, DeWine said outbreaks were related to weddings and funerals.

DeWine said health officials across the state have reported that laxed social distancing, not enough mask-wearing and not following quarantine guidance.

There are 42 counties considered “high incidence” and the governor said, “If you lived in one of these counties, you would worry about because either they have a high incidence or they are a red county ... these are the counties that we’re most particularly concerned about."

Hamilton, Butler and Warren counties are among those counties.

The concern, DeWine said he’s concerned for the safety of schools, even though they are taking measures to decrease risk to the students.

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“Our schools are a reflection of our communities, and if there is wide-spread spread the schools simply have no way of keeping it out," DeWine said.

The Butler County General Health District reported 6,951 total cases in its latest update on Wednesday, which was a 9.5 percent increase from the previous Wednesday. The state health department is reporting 115 deaths in Butler County as of Monday. Statewide, there were 162,723 total cases reported Thursday and 4,970 deaths.

As of Thursday, there were 503 cases reported for children under 18 throughout the county.

The state reported Thursday 12 new student cases in six private or public Butler County schools, and 11 new staff cases in eight schools.

Miami’s coronavirus dashboard reported 1,845 total student cases since Aug. 17 and 428 active cases as of Wednesday. The school saw a jump in cases after students moved back onto the campus last month and started in-person classes, but the daily new cases have dropped in the last week, to 32 on Wednesday.

Other indicators that prompted Butler County to remain at the red level includes, 63.6 percent COVID-19 cases in non-congregate cases from Sept. 30 to Tuesday, and as of Tuesday the county’s seven-day rolling averages for outpatient visits and new cases are too high.

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