Gov. Mike DeWine announced Portage County is now in a COVID-19 Level 3 Red status, which indicates very high exposure and spread of the virus.
“The majority of cases are being driven by activities in off-campus housing, and to a lesser degree Greek housing," DeWine said. “So far in September, 51% of Portage County’s cases are to people younger than 29.”
DeWine said the daily average case count rose from 5.5 on Aug. 24 to almost 11 on Sept. 4. Kent State classes began Thursday, Aug. 27.
This is the first time Portage County is in a Level 3 Red status since the alert system went into place.
“Portage County is experiencing an increase in cases due to nearly three dozen cases linked to off-campus spread at Kent State University in off-campus settings, contributing to about one-third of overall county cases in the past two weeks,” Ohio House Rep. Randi Clites said in a statement.
Despite the new Level 3 Red status, the Office of the Provost stated in an email that in-person classes at Kent State will remain the same unless the instructor chooses to change them. The email also reiterated the importance of following the Flashes Safe Seven on and off campus.
Beginning on Sep. 18, all Kent State dining locations will be take-out only and all residence halls will be limited to Kent State students living on campus.
“These additional measures are aligned with the guidance of state and local health authorities, and we will continue to work in cooperation with these health experts to manage the virus in our community,” Manfred van Dulmen, interim associate provost, said in the email.
For now, on-campus employees are not affected by Level 3 status and the email said if any changes are made those would be communicated through employees’ supervisors.
The 10 person limit for university-sponsored gatherings remains in effect.
“The ever changing nature of this pandemic means that we must remain flexible and adjust our plans as necessary to ensure the health and safety of our community,” van Dulmen said in the email.
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