4,217 new Ohio COVID cases in 2 days: ‘This virus is coming on really strong now.’

Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine talks to the press Friday October 9, 2020 at the Patterson Homestead on Brown St. in Dayton. DeWine traveled around Ohio on Friday because he was worried about the recent COVID-19 uptick. JIM NOELKER/STAFF

Credit: JIM NOELKER

Credit: JIM NOELKER

Ohio set back-to-back daily records for new reported cases for coronavirus infections, hitting 2,178 on Thursday and 2,039 on Wednesday, and now 10 million Ohioans live in areas with a high risk of transmission.

Another alarming data point is that 5.4% of coronavirus tests are coming back positive, which is twice the positivity rate Ohio had in late September.

“This virus is coming on really strong now, and it’s coming on strong all throughout the state of Ohio," Gov. Mike DeWine said on Thursday.

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DeWine said he is working with state lawmakers on a financial relief package for bar and restaurant owners. There are no plans to lift the 10 p.m. alcohol sales curfew at this point, given that the virus numbers are headed in the wrong direction, he said.

Public health officials report the virus is spreading via social gatherings, such as weddings, funerals, bonfires, pub crawls and car shows.

“Now is really the time to rethink whether these are in the best interest of the community,” DeWine said.

The Ohio Department of Health on Thursday reported 175,843 cases, including 16,824 hospitalizations and 5,038 deaths, since the beginning of the pandemic.

DeWine said he isn’t contemplating shutdown orders, but he won’t entirely rule them out. The governor reiterated that wearing a mask, keeping distance, avoiding crowds and handwashing are the best tools to combat the virus spread.

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Three months ago, Ohio instituted a statewide mask order but compliance has fallen off, DeWine said.

“Our health commissioners tell us they are seeing less and less mask compliance when people are out and that people aren’t wearing masks when they are with friends and family,” DeWine said. “These are not times to be complacent or comfortable. It is the time to be vigilant to protect yourself, your family, your friends and your neighbors.”

DeWine said Ohioans can still gather with friends and family but do so while wearing masks, keeping distance and making sure they’re either outside or have good ventilation indoors.

DeWine said people can still celebrate Thanksgiving, but it’ll be different this year. At his house, DeWine said he anticipates a smaller gathering, more distance and an effort to limit mixing of branches of the extended family.

The DeWines have seven adult children and 24 grandchildren.

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