For 1st time, an Ohio county reaches ‘Purple Alert’; 2 Northeast Ohio counties could reach most severe level next week

CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) - For the first time since introduction, an Ohio county has been elevated to “Purple Alert Level 4″ on the state’s color-coded coronavirus threat level map.

“Other counties may not yet be seeing continuous, uninterrupted increases in the same way that is causing Franklin to move to purple, but make no mistake, almost all counties are seeing more cases and more healthcare use that could threaten the medical system if they continue,” Gov. Mike DeWine said.

Residents in Franklin County are urged, but not required, to only leave their homes for supplies and services.

Ohio Gov. DeWine said that three other counties, including Lake and Lorain in the Northeast region of the state, are on the verge of reaching the most severe level.

Both counties have more than 5,000 cases despite having relatively small populations of roughly 230,000 (Lake) and 310,000 (Lorain) respectively.

Lorain County Health Commissioner David Covell has been expressing concern for weeks.

“It’s just tells you there’s nobody who is exempt from getting this,” he told 19 News earlier this month after the virus crept into the Elyria Police and Fire Departments.

The Level 4 designation does come with any state-mandated changes, but the Ohio Department of Health has previously said those counties should enact stay-at-home advisories.

A shopper in Lake County’s biggest city, Mentor, suggested to 19 News she’s against such advisories, even as cases rise.

“I love going to the stores [and] going out to eat. That’s the American way and now they’re restricting us,” said the woman who would not provide her name.

“Are we going to wear masks for the rest of our lives?” she asked, reiterating that she’s against wearing masks but only wears one because it’s required inside businesses.

Copyright 2020 WOIO. All rights reserved.