The COVID-19 community level for Portage and Cuyahoga counties has risen to “high,” leading to Kent State University reinstating mask mandates on its campuses in those counties.
Released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention weekly on Thursdays, the data show that Summit County’s level remains “medium,” while Medina County dropped from “high” to “medium,” and Stark and Wayne counties both remained at “low” from last week to this week.
Cases, hospitalizations and hospital-bed usage continue to be generally on the rise in Ohio and across the country.
Health officials continue to believe case numbers are underreported as more people either don’t test or take at-home tests and don’t report their positive results.
Summit County Public Health Commissioner Donna Skoda said last week that it’s estimated cases are likely eight times higher than what’s reported.
Kent State issues mask mandate at main campus
Kent State announced Friday that face coverings will now be required indoors on the main Kent campus, the College of Podiatric Medicine, the Cleveland Foot and Ankle Clinic, and the Cleveland Urban Design Collaborative.
The announcement was made in a letter to the university community from Melissa Zullo, director of the Pandemic Institutionalization Effort, interim associate dean of faculty affairs and program coordinator for epidemiology and biostatistics.
Additionally, face coverings are also required indoors at Kent State’s Trumbull campus, as Trumbull County remains at a “high” level.
Masks aren’t required while working alone in an enclosed space, like a private office or lab, the university said.
The university also said that Ashtabula, Columbiana, Geauga, Summit and Tuscarawas counties, where Kent State has several campuses and locations, are now all at “medium” level. The university said that it will “continue to monitor COVID-19 levels in all the counties where we have campuses or locations and will adjust our requirements and recommendations according to CDC guidelines.”
Kent State said it’s following CDC recommendations for counties at “high,” “medium” or “low” levels. In “high” counties, the CDC recommends wearing a mask indoors in public, staying up-to-date with COVID-19 vaccines and getting tested if showing COVID-19 symptoms, saying that those at high risk for severe illness may want to take additional safety precautions.
COVID-19 community levels in Northeast Ohio
The CDC community level is based on a combination of three metrics — COVID-19 hospital admissions per 100,000 residents, hospital bed capacity and cases per 100,000 residents. The COVID-19 community level is determined by the higher of the new admissions and inpatient beds metrics, based on the current level of new cases per 100,000 population in the past seven days.
COVID-19 community levels were calculated this past Thursday. New COVID-19 cases per 100,000 population (seven-day total) were calculated using data from July 21-27. New COVID-19 admissions per 100,000 population (seven-day total) and percentage of inpatient beds occupied by COVID-19 patients (seven-day average) were calculated using data from Jul 20-26.
Ohio University masks: Ohio University will reinstate mask mandate due to rising COVID-19 transmission rates
Here are details about the latest COVID community levels in Greater Akron:
• Portage County is “high,” up from “medium” last week, and has 229.59 cases per 100,000, up from 151.42 last week. It has 12.1 new hospitalizations per 100,000, slightly down from 12.5 last week, and 4.6% of staffed inpatient beds were in use by COVID patients, slightly up from 4.3% last week.
• Medina County’s COVID-19 level is “medium,” down from “high” last week, and has 176.36 new cases per 100,000 cases, down from 203.06 last week. It has 12.1 new COVID hospitalizations per 100,000, slightly down from 12.5 last week, and 4.6% of staffed inpatient beds with COVID patients, slightly up from 4.3% last week.
• Summit County is “medium,” the same as last week, and has 172.45 cases per 100,000 cases, up from 144.36 last week. It has 12.1 per 100,000 new COVID hospitalizations, slightly down from 12.5 last week, and 4.6% of staffed inpatient beds were in use by COVID patients, slightly up from 4.3% last week.
• Stark County is “low,” the same as last week, and has 166.48 per 100,000 cases, up from 135.18 last week. New COVID hospitalizations per 100,000 were 9.9, up from 8.9 last week, and 5.3% of staffed inpatient beds were in use by COVID patients, up from 4.8% last week.
• Wayne County is “low,” the same as last week, and has 136.55 new cases per 100,000, down from 143.46 last week. The county had 9.9 new COVID hospitalizations per 100,000, up from 8.9 last week, and 5.3% of staffed inpatient beds were in use by COVID patients, up from 4.8% last week.
• Cuyahoga County is “high” and has 228.08 new cases per 100,000, 15.1 new COVID hospitalizations per 100,000 and 4.1% of staffed inpatient beds were in use by COVID patients.
Beacon Journal reporter Betty Lin-Fisher contributed previous reporting. Contact Beacon Journal reporter Emily Mills at firstname.lastname@example.org and on Twitter @EmilyMills818.