Citing Ohio's "deteriorating" coronavirus situation, Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine ordered a statewide curfew during remarks Tuesday. He said that beginning Thursday and for the following 21 days, a curfew would be in effect from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. in an effort to slow the spread of COVID.
The curfew mainly applies to walk-in retail (excluding grocery stores and pharmacies). Exceptions in what DeWine called "common sense" areas include:
Exceptions: The curfew does not apply to those who need to be at work, those who have an emergency, or those who need medical care. The curfew is not intended to stop anyone from getting groceries, a carry-out/drive-thru meal, or delivery. A lot of this is common sense.— Governor Mike DeWine (@GovMikeDeWine) November 17, 2020
DeWine referenced the state's rising hospitalizations and case numbers, and the pervasive incidence rate in all of the state's 88 counties, to urge Ohioans to work together to fight the virus. In addition to the curfew, he asked that residents find ways to reduce their contact with other people every day, such as limiting outings, wearing a mask to church and calling friends or family instead of seeing them in person.
"If we can cut down contacts by 20-25%, this will make a difference," DeWine said. "Paired with mask-wearing, this will go a long way from stopping our hospitals from being overrun."
DeWine said this three-week trial, coupled with the retail mask order, should be able to prevent other sector shutdowns.
While new cases were down slightly Tuesday — a total of 6,794 were confirmed, which dipped below 7,000 for the first time since Nov. 11 — hospitalizations set a new record for the fourth day in a row. The state now stands at 3,648 total hospitalizations, up from 3,387 yesterday, with just under 900 in intensive care.
During the briefing, Lt. Gov. Jon Husted said, "Over the past 21 days, hospitals, as a result of that spread, have see an increase from around 1,400 patients to over 3,600...Some of those hospitals have had to accommodate these increasing numbers by slowing or postponing some elective surgeries."
So where does the magic 21-day curfew number come from?
Nowhere, really. DeWine said, "Twenty-one days is an eternity with the virus."
And it's long enough to get some patterns and see what the results are.
Dr. Bruce Vanderhoff, Chief Medical Officer at the Ohio Department of Health, appeared via Skype during the briefing and said that the progression of the illness, from onset of symptoms to possible need of hospitalization, can take many days.
He gave an example of someone experiencing symptoms after three days of contracting the virus. Then it could take that person another couple days to visit the doctor and get a COVID test. It could take another 48 hours to get the test results, and then another couple days before they got sick enough to go to the hospital.
Once admitted to the hospital, COVID patients typically stay several days, and even longer if they are admitted to the ICU.
Vanderhoff said even if everyone starts taking action now — wearing masks, increasing ventilation in their homes, avoiding gatherings — it can take weeks to start seeing improvement in hospital numbers.
Dr. Vanderhoff: We are at a critical juncture. We need to protect our healthcare workers. Even if we take necessary changes immediately, it will take weeks before we see improvement in hospital numbers. Even if you don't believe in masks, please wear one. pic.twitter.com/o9fpnALy0q— Governor Mike DeWine (@GovMikeDeWine) November 17, 2020