COLUMBUS – State Representative Mark Fraizer (R-Newark) today explained the truth behind Licking County’s Level 3 red designated county status.
“Citizens of Licking County are confused and frustrated with the inconsistencies found in the Ohio Department of Health’s data,” said Fraizer. “It is my responsibility as State Representative to clarify the misperceptions the Governor and the Department of Health have brought upon my constituents and all Ohioans.”
According to the Ohio Department of Health, The Public Health Advisory Alert System is a color-coded system designed to supplement existing statewide orders through a data-driven framework to assess the degree of COVID-19’s spread.
The system consists of four levels that attempt to provide Ohioans with guidance as to the severity of the COVID-19 spread in the counties in which they live. The levels are determined by seven data indicators that identify the risk level for each county and a corresponding color code to represent that risk level.
Yesterday, Licking County was said to have four indicators, considering the county to be a Level 3 red designated county. As mandated by the Governor, face masks or coverings are mandatory inside businesses and public places and outside in crowded areas in Level 3 red designated counties.
The four indicators triggered in Licking County were the following: New cases per capita, increase in new cases, non-congregate cases and outpatient visits.
“Coronavirus is spreading across Ohio, and I acknowledge the fact that it’s spreading across Licking County. However, the data presented from the Ohio Department of Health fails to appropriately categorize the data. It concerns me that the administration uses inconsistent data to classify red counties,” said Fraizer.
The data for the first indication trigger, new cases per capita, is inaccurate because it focuses on the number of cases over the past 14 days, when it would be more accurate to focus on the number of cases over the past 28 days. If one were to look at the number from July 1 – July 14, one would actually find a decrease in amount of cases by 26.7 per 100,000 Licking County residents.
The data for the second and third indication triggers, increase in new cases and non-congregate cases, can vary because the on-set date is leveraged. If the on-set date is not yet determined, then it is defaulted to reported or physician screened date. The equation used for this data is extremely confusing and could lead to consistent questioning of the data integrity itself.
The data for the fourth indication trigger, outpatient visits, is negligible because the number for the data is so low. According to the data provided, there have only been 16 outpatient visits. Of those 16 outpatients, there is a great likelihood that the patients did not have the virus, and did not receive a positive test, and or went to visit their physician out of an abundance of caution.
The Ohio Public Health Advisory System data is above.
Although counties in the level 3 category are required to enforce citizens to wear masks, there are exceptions for the following:
- Those under 10 years of age
- Those with a medical condition, including a respiratory condition, mental health condition or disability that contraindicates wearing a mask
- Those communicating with someone who is hearing-impaired or has another disability where the ability to see the mouth is essential
- Those alone in an enclosed space, such as an office, that is not intended for use or access by the public
- Those actively engaged in exercise in a gym or indoor facility as long as social distancing is practiced
- Those actively participating in athletic practice, scrimmage or another competition sanctioned by the Department of Health
- Those engaged in public safety, such as law enforcement, firefighters or emergency medical personnel
- Those engaging in broadcast communications
- Those officiating a religious service
- Those seated in a restaurant or bar and actively consuming food or drinks
- Places where masks are prohibited by law or regulation
- Places where masks are in violation of documented industry standards
- Places where masks are in violation of a business’s documented safety policies
Fraizer concluded, “I encourage citizens of Licking County to continue to socially distance and make health decisions that are best suited for you and your families. I also encourage the Ohio Department of Health to focus on appropriate data sharing for Ohioans and leverage reporting to provide consistent data; encouraging contact tracing and conducive measures to stop the spread of the virus. The Licking County local health department will continue to provide outstanding service. Please limit inquiries on mask violators to encourage an appropriate response for vital activities. Together as a community, we will overcome the strains of COVID-19. By partnering with our local health department to care for our families and loved ones, I am confident we will promote recovery throughout Licking County.”
For more information, contact Rep. Fraizer’s office at (614) 466-1482 or firstname.lastname@example.org