'We Don't Want to Shut Down Again': DeWine Lists Four New Recommendations for Ohio's High Incidence Counties

82 of Ohio's 88 counties are now classified as high-incidence, meaning there have been more than 100 cases per 100,000 residents over the past two weeks.

click to enlarge Gov. Mike DeWine - Photo: Ohio Channel YouTube screengrab
Photo: Ohio Channel YouTube screengrab
Gov. Mike DeWine

As COVID numbers continue to spike across Ohio, Gov. Mike DeWine has issued a handful of new recommendations for counties with a CDC-defined high-incidence rate of infection.

"Sadly, the red tide of the virus continues to spread throughout Ohio into every corner of this state. There's no escaping it," the governor said during today's press briefing.

Eighty-two of Ohio's 88 counties are now classified as high-incidence, meaning there have been more than 100 cases per 100,000 residents over the past two weeks.

"As we look at these numbers, I think every Ohioan needs to be alarmed by what we are seeing," DeWine said.

In the last 24 hours, there have been 2,509 new confirmed cases of COVID in Ohio, 22 new deaths, 198 new hospitalizations, 20 new ICU admissions.

COVID-positive ICU admissions have basically doubled from the start of October and current hospital utilization numbers are higher than we saw "during the summer peak," DeWine said.

Although no hospitals are overflowing, DeWine said the trendlines are "not good."

"Based on the trajectory of other early indicators, we've likely not yet reached the top. We have no indication that we've plateaued out at all," he said.

The main driver of COVID infections is community spread, DeWine said, adding that spread endangers schools, nursing homes and hospitals.

Here's what's contributing to the community spread:

So in addition to making sure more people in Ohio are wearing masks, social distancing, washing their hands and improving ventilation in their homes and businesses, DeWine said, "If you live in one of the 82 counties that is now a high-incident county, let's be more specific." 

For those 82 counties, he recommends the following:

  • Please reconsider hosting or attending gatherings of any size, this includes with friends and extended family.
  • Think about canceling events; certainly don't go to Halloween parties.
  • Wear masks inside and outside when you cannot social distance — above the nose, over the mouth, secure under the chin.
  • Stay home if you're not well.

In addition to those four main steps, he also asked those who have been diagnosed with COVID or around someone who has tested positive to listen to local public health officials. He also asked businesses to allow employees to work from home, if possible; send reminders about how to stay healthy inside and outside of work; and to require customers to wear masks.

"Each community really needs to reassess right now what it is doing and what it can do in the future. We are at a critical stage," DeWine said.

"I am asking leaders in every single county to re-double your efforts."

The governor said he will also be calling each county to touch base, and is urging them to get groups of leaders together to figure out how to manage the virus in their area. Every county should be working to get under that 100-cases-per-100,000-people threshold. 

"We have a common enemy and it is this virus," DeWine said.

"We don't want to shut down again. We've done it once. We just can't do it twice."

Find more COVID information at coronavirus.ohio.gov.

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