Coronavirus: Southwest Ohio’s only purple county drops as Butler County stays Level 3 and curfew is extended

Credit: Jim Noelker

Credit: Jim Noelker

Ohioans will remain under a curfew from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. through Jan. 2, Gov. Mike DeWine said Thursday.

“We believe the curfew, along with mask-wearing, have had an impact, and the next 21 days are extremely critical,” he said. “We must all do everything we can to slow down the virus.”

At the same time, Butler County remained at red Level 3 in the state’s coronavirus advisory system. In the region, Montgomery County moved down from purple Level 4 to Level 3, and no counties in the region were added to the “watch list,” which includes counties at Level 3 on the verge of moving up to Level 3.

Butler County reported 477 new cases on Thursday to reach 20,790 since the pandemic began. There have been 165 deaths in the county, according to the Butler County General Health District.

DeWine first announced a 21-day curfew last month as the state saw coronavirus cases and hospitalizations surge. The governor said the state chose 10 p.m. to as a balance so that people would still be able to go out and support businesses, but would also reduce how long people would be out.

DeWine noted that there are a few events scheduled that will conflict with the curfew. The Ohio Department of Health is issuing a variance for the Columbus Crew championship game, the Browns and Bengals games and the University of Cincinnati conference championship football game.

DeWine said the start times for those games were set based off national television contracts and as a result will finish after the 10 p.m. curfew.

“These events have been run consistently with the protocols were asking all Ohioans to follow,” he said.

The governor also noted that the curfew does not impact any religious services, including midnight mass.

“No order we’ve issued, no curfew, nothing impacts religious services,” he said.

DeWine announced Stay Safe Ohio, a set of protocols meant to guide Ohioans through the next few weeks of the coronavirus pandemic.

Ohio cannot afford to overwhelm hospitals and health care workers right before the state is expected to start receiving its first batches of the coronavirus vaccination, DeWine said.

“COVID-19 is the single greatest threat to the physical wellbeing of all Ohioans, the mental health of our citizens, and our economic security,” he said.

The governor said that until Ohio can get the coronavirus vaccine and start distributing it to residents, Ohioans need to find a way to live with the virus.

“They way we live this is following these 10 items,” he said of the Stay Safe Ohio protocols.

Montgomery County dropped down to level 3 after spending two weeks at purple, or level 4.

It joins the rest of the Miami Valley at level 3, which is the second most severe level of the Ohio Public Health Advisory System.

Ohio has five purple counties: Richland, Medina, Portage, Stark and Summit. Ashland and Guernsey counties are on the level 4 watch list.

At the beginning of the month, Ohio record more than 5,000 daily cases for the first time. By the end of November, the state hard reported more than 10,000 cases a day and was regularly seeing more than 7,000 daily cases.

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