Senior centers can open Sept.

Highland Co. downgraded to level 2 public emergency

By McKenzie Caldwell - [email protected]

Ohio Governor Mike DeWine announced Thursday that senior centers and adult day care centers will be able to open as of Sept. 21, according to a press release from the governor’s office.

“By delaying the opening until Sept. 21, we are providing time for each center to properly prepare based on the order’s guidelines,” said DeWine. “Each center should consider a variety of factors when determining its ability to reopen, including the case status in the surrounding community.”

The full order allowing senior centers and adult day care centers to reopen was not available at press time Friday.

Also on Thursday, Ohio Department of Health Interim Director Lance Himes signed an order that, beginning at 12:01 a.m. on Monday, will require ODH-licensed residential care facilities to test residents and staff members.

In other COVID-19-related news from Thursday, the ODH downgraded Highland County from a level 2 public emergency, which represents increased COVID-19 exposure and spread, to a level 1, which represents active exposure and spread, according to ODH’s public health advisory system.

Highland County was upgraded to a level 2 public emergency in mid-July.

Nearby, the ODH downgraded Ross County from a level 2 to a level 1, and Brown County moved from a level 3 to a level 2.

According to ODH’s public health advisory system, a level 3 public emergency represents very high exposure and spread. The ODH asks those living in level 3 counties to “limit activities as much as possible.”

As of Thursday, Highland County still met one risk indicator: the risk indicator for the proportion of cases in a non-congregate setting, or “Indicator 3.”

Congregate settings include nursing homes.

The ODH uses risk indicators to monitor counties for increased COVID-19 activity.

For more information about risk indicators and ODH’s public health advisory system, visit

As of Friday, Highland County has had a total of 197 lab-confirmed and probable COVID-19 cases, the Highland County Health Department reported.

“Probable cases are cases that are not lab-confirmed with PCR tests, but have a direct connection with a known case and are symptomatic,” Highland County Health Commissioner Jared Warner said. “We often see these cases in households where one person is lab-confirmed through PCR testing, and others in the household become ill but decide not to have laboratory testing done.”

According to the FDA, PCR tests are molecular tests that can diagnose an active coronavirus infection by detecting the virus’ genetic material.

In a previous Facebook post, the health department stated that probable cases “includes clinical presentation, epidemiological link, or FDA-approved antigen/antibody test.” As of Friday, the health department had documented 16 such cases in Highland County since the pandemic began.

In a Friday post to the Highland County Health Department’s Facebook, Warner said, “We do see cases move between counties almost weekly as we identify more accurate home addresses, so you may see some small shifts in numbers. This is because we are not really working in a closed system. Sometimes we receive ownership of a case only a day or so before they are declared recovered.”

For more information on the COVID-19 pandemic in Ohio, visit

Reach McKenzie Caldwell at 937-402-2570.
Highland Co. downgraded to level 2 public emergency

By McKenzie Caldwell

[email protected]