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Three more counties move to highest alert level

COLUMBUS — Four counties in Ohio are now listed at Purple Level Four in the latest update of the state’s COVID-19 alert map.

Montgomery, Lake, and Lorain counties moved to the highest risk level on the four-tier system, while Franklin County remained at the designation for the second week.

The newest Level Four counties are among the most populated in the state. Montgomery County is the fifth-most populous county and is where Dayton is located. Lake and Lorain counties are part of the greater Cleveland metro area. While Franklin is the Columbus area.

In addition, 11 counties at Red Level Three have moved to the watch list in the system.

Lawrence County remained at Red Level Three for the eighth week in a row. Neighboring Scioto and Jackson counties were also at that level, while Gallia County remained at Orange Level Two, one of only nine counties still at that designation.

This week saw 75 counties were at Red Level Three, an increase of three from last week.

No counties were at the lowest alert, Yellow Level One.

The system, compiled by the Ohio Department of Health, is determined by seven data indicators — New cases per capita, sustained increase in new cases, proportion of cases not congregate cases, sustained increase in emergency room visits, sustained increase in outpatient visits and sustained increase in new COVID-19 hospital admissions — that identify the risk level for each county and a corresponding color code to represent that risk level.

DeWine issued this week’s map a day early, as the typical Thursday release fell on Thanksgiving Day.

He urged Ohioans to not hold large celebrations, due to the pandemic.

“Be safe,” he said. “Celebrate small.