Portage County rises to COVID-19 Level 4 Purple status


Portage County Level 4

Gina Butkovich Lauren Sasala

Portage County has moved to Level 4 ‘Purple’ status. Level 4 is the highest risk level and represents significant spread and exposure of COVID-19. 

Level 4, or Purple, is the highest level of the four-tier, color coded Ohio Public Health Advisory System. Level 4 indicates severe exposure and spread of COVID-19. There are no new orders issued by the governor when a county reaches Level 4. Residents are advised to follow the same guidelines they were urged to follow at the lower levels including social distancing and mask wearing. 

Portage County’s Health Commissioner Joseph Diorio issued a stay-at-home order which began on Nov. 20 and will continue until Dec. 18. The order involves staying at home “to the greatest extent possible” and only leaving for essential activities such as work, school, the grocery store or medical care. It also states that businesses should allow employees to work remotely whenever possible. 

In an email from the Kent State University Office of the Provost, Manfred van Dulmen stated that on the Kent campus only employees necessary for on-campus operations should report to campus for work. All other employees should work remotely. 

Testing will continue to be offered on campus at the DeWeese Health Center Monday through Friday and students, faculty and staff may also be tested for free at CVS MinuteClinics. 

A county is labeled Level 4 ‘Purple’ when it meets six of the seven indicators for two consecutive weeks. 

The only indicator Portage County is not meeting is for hospital admissions. The indicators it has met are: 

  • New cases per capita 

  • A sustained increase in new cases

  • Proportion of cases not in a congregate setting such as a long-term care facility, group home, jail or prison

  • Sustained increase in emergency department visits for COVID-19 like illnesses 

  • Sustained increase in outpatient visits for COVID-19 like illnesses

  • Intensive care unit (ICU) bed occupancy

Portage County is one of five counties Gov. Mike DeWine announced had reached Level 4 today. The other counties are Medina, Richland, Stark and Summit. Cuyahoga County is one of the three Ohio counties to have been placed on the watch list for level 4.

Contact Gina Butkovich at [email protected].

Contact Lauren Sasala at [email protected].


Hi, I’m Lauren Sasala, a senior journalism student from Toledo. I’m also the editor in chief of The Kent Stater and KentWired this semester. My staff and I are committed to bringing you the most important news about Kent State and the Kent community. We are full-time students and hard-working journalists. While we get support from the student media fee and earned revenue such as advertising, both of those continue to decline. Your generous gift of any amount will help enhance our student experience as we grow into working professionals. Please go here to donate.