Twenty-nine counties in Ohio are at level 3, or red, representing 65% of Ohioans, Gov. Mike DeWine said. There are 52 counties that have a high incidence of coronavirus, meaning there are more than 1000 cases per 100,000 residents over the last two weeks.
“When you look at these numbers, this is the worst situation Ohio has been in,” DeWine said.
Montgomery, Butler, Greene, Clark and Warren counties were all at level 3. Champaign and Logan counties are the only in the Miami Valley that are not high incidence counties.
Thirteen of the red counties are new, including Greene County, which has never been red.
Ohio broke the state record for daily coronavirus cases for the second day in a row with 2,178. It is also the second straight day that the state has reported more than 2,000 new cases in 24 hours.
“We’ve gone up dramatically in a relatively short time,” DeWine said. In mid to late September, the state was averaging less than 1,000 cases reported each day.
On Monday and Tuesday, the state’s daily positivity rate was at 5.5% and 5.4%, according to the Ohio Department of Health.
DeWine said the health officials across the state said that schools are doing a good job and that most cases are linked to social gatherings.
“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,” the governor 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.”
While DeWine said there are no plans to shut anything down, he said that he cannot rule out the option.
“We believe there is a safe way to do the things most Ohioans want to do,” he said. “What you’re seeing in today’s numbers should get our attention.”
He said the consequences of shutting things down would be “devastating” to people’s lives. He added that people know what they can do to keep the virus in check, such as wearing masks, avoiding large groups and frequent hand washing.
“We can avoid most of this pain,” DeWine said. “We’ve got to do the basic things.”
The governor also discussed Ohio’s updated travel advisory, which included Indiana among states Ohioans should avoid traveling to.
DeWine said that expectations are in place with Ohio commuters who work in the neighboring state.
“It is a warning,” DeWine said of the advisory. “It is a caution.”
Dr. David of Margolius, director of internal medicine at MetroHealth Cleveland, said that people can still socialize, but that it needs to be done in a safe manner.
He said that if people want to spend time with others they should wear a mask and try to be outside.
“Ohio knows how to do this,” said Dr. Nick Dreher, medical director of Population Innovation Institute at MetroHealth Cleveland. “We can do it again.”
Dreher stressed that when hospital beds start filling up with COVID-19 patients they aren’t available for people suffering from other diseases ailments.
He said that hospital capacity is good at this time, but that Ohio wants to stay good.
There have been 175,843 total cases and 5,038 deaths reported during the pandemic in Ohio.
More than 100 hospitalizations were reported for a total of 16,824. ICU admissions are at 3,507 with 43 admissions reported today.
Earlier this week DeWine warned that the virus will likely get worse before it gets better and that the virus will be among Ohioans until a vaccine is developed.
“Here is what we can control -- wearing masks and avoiding large gatherings,” he said. “Where we have had high mask usage, we have significantly reduced cases and spread.”