Ohio Governor Mike DeWine and Lt. Governor Jon Husted provided the following updates on Ohio's response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
OHIO CASES AND HOSPITALIZATIONS
In the past 24 hours, Ohio reported 8,921 new coronavirus cases, the fifth-highest case count reported in one day since the start of the pandemic. Nearly 400 more hospitalizations were reported, and an additional 82 people have died from COVID-19 in Ohio.
COVID-19 hospitalizations remain high with 5,142 patients currently hospitalized. Of those, 1,204 patients are in intensive care.
Dr. Andy Thomas, chief clinical officer at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center, warned that Ohio is not yet seeing the impact of gatherings that took place over Thanksgiving because hospitalizations are a lagging indicator. Symptoms generally develop within 10 days of transmission, and hospitalizations typically occur a week after diagnosis.
"This is not the beginning of the end or even the end of the beginning," said Dr. Thomas. "Hospitals are in a very difficult spot here, and we're just now heading into the most challenging three months of the pandemic. ICU beds are an area of capacity where we have the biggest strain across the state, especially in rural areas."
"We are in crisis. Hospitals across Ohio are running out of beds, healthcare workers are burned out and stretched thin, and our hospitals are stressed to the extreme," said Dr. Nora Colburn, associate medical director for clinical epidemiology at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center. "Hospitals around the state are delaying non-emergency procedures which will impact routine healthcare. The bottom line is that non-COVID patients are being crowded out of the system and won't be able to get the care they need to stay healthy. We all must do our part to stop the spread of the virus."
OHIO PUBLIC HEALTH ADVISORY SYSTEM
New health data compiled by the Ohio Department of Health (ODH) showed sustained severe exposure and spread (Purple Level 4) in Lake, Lorain, Medina, Montgomery, Portage, Richland, Stark, and Summit counties. Cuyahoga, Fairfield, and Madison counties were moved to the Watch List.
Franklin County dropped from Purple Level 4 to Red Level 3, however, Dr. Thomas urged county residents to remain vigilant.
"This does not mean that Franklin County is out of the woods," said Dr. Thomas. "We still have a rate of cases that is six-times higher than the definition of high incidence. That is not good. We are not on our way down yet."
A county-by-county breakdown outlining the presence of COVID-19 in all of Ohio's 88 counties can be found on the Ohio Public Health Advisory System's website.
According to this week's ODH travel advisory, this is the first week since April where Ohio’s positivity for COVID-19 has increased above 15 percent.
The travel advisory encourages all Ohioans to help to limit the spread and impact of this virus by staying home except for necessary trips for supplies. The advisory also urges Ohioans to consistently wear masks when around others and frequently wash their hands.
ODH requests that anyone who must travel to any other state with a positivity rate of 15 percent or more self-quarantine for 14 days upon return. ODH also asks any non-Ohioans entering the state from one of these areas to do the same.
RETAIL COMPLIANCE UNIT DASHBOARD
Governor DeWine announced that Ohio's Retail Compliance Unit Dashboard is now available online at coronavirus.ohio.gov.
The new dashboard includes information on the number of retailers visited by agents, how many customers and employees were properly wearing masks, how many establishments had proper signage, and the number of warnings issued. The dashboard will be updated each Thursday.
The Retail Compliance Unit was created within the Ohio Bureau of Workers' Compensation to help keep businesses open and safe for customers and employees.
MASKS AND THOSE WITH DISABILITIES
On International Day of Persons with Disabilities, Governor DeWine reminded Ohioans that some individuals with disabilities may not be able to wear a mask.
"While it’s crucial that those of us who can wear face masks do wear face masks, we should all remember that when we see someone in public without a mask it may be someone with a disability who may not be able to wear one," said Governor DeWine.
CURRENT CASE DATA
In total, there are 446,849 confirmed and probable cases of COVID-19 reported in Ohio and 6,753 confirmed and probable COVID-19 deaths. A total of 28,281 people have been hospitalized throughout the pandemic, including 4,814 admissions to intensive care units. In-depth data can be accessed by visiting coronavirus.ohio.gov.