DeWine: Coronavirus Spreading ‘Virtually Everywhere’ In Ohio

These maps show how widely the coronavirus has spread through the midwest over the past three weeks,
These maps show how widely the coronavirus has spread through the Midwest over the past three weeks. [Sarah Taylor / Ohio Department of Health]

Nearly 300,000 Ohio students are unable to attend school in person right now due to the coronavirus.

“We owe it to our children, to their future, to our state’s future to fight back against this virus; to not accept this as just something that has to be,” Gov. Mike DeWine told Ohioans during his Tuesday coronavirus briefing.

DeWine again repeated the mantra that has become a familiar refrain: “Wear a mask. It’s just a mask. When you think about how much people have sacrificed for this country, this isn’t a lot to ask.”

At least 16 school districts around the state have, in the last two weeks, altered plans for in-person instruction because of community spread of the coronavirus, DeWine said. At least 50 districts are fully online right now. Among them is Cleveland Metropolitan School District (CMSD), where students will continue learning remotely through Dec. 21, the start of the planned winter break, CEO Eric Gordon announced to families Friday.

DeWine said all Ohioans should be concerned that so many students are having to receive instruction remotely.

"Many of our children throughout the state just do better in school,” he said. “We can turn this heat down and get back to a simmer instead of a flame that’s really going to come up. That flame is a direct threat to keeping our kids in school.”

By The Numbers

The numbers shared Tuesday continue following the recent trend of case growth and an increase in hospitalizations. The Ohio Department of Health reported 2,015 new cases with a three-week average of 1,559 confirmed cases.

More than 200 people were hospitalized for COVID-19 in the last 24 hours. “That’s the highest number of hospitalizations ever reported and it’s over 50 more than the previous high that was back in July,” DeWine said.

 

Dr. Andy Thomas, chief clinical officer at The Ohio State University’s Wexner Medical Center, said rural areas of the state continue to see the greatest spread. Thomas said the state’s three zones of medical care are communicating regularly to monitor the situation. Northern Ohio is Zone 1, Central and Southeast Ohio are Zone 2, and Southwest Ohio, including Dayton and Cincinnati are in Zone 3, which Thomas said is currently seeing the highest rates of hospitalization since the pandemic began. During the summer Zone 3 saw barely 300 patients; now they’re in the range of 370.

While hospitals are treating more patients, Thomas said they report that the current number of cases is manageable.

“The concern we have is we’re not seeing the cases peak and the hospitalizations peak,” Thomas said. “Until we know where the peak of that curve is, it’s a little anxiety-provoking. At this point we don’t know where it’s going to top out.”

Copyright 2020 WKSU. To see more, visit WKSU.

 

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