Ohio Counties Avoid Turning 'Purple.' But DeWine Cautions There Is 'No Place To Hide' From COVID-19
Updated: 3:25 p.m., Thursday, Oct. 29
Despite much speculation, not a single Ohio county turned purple on the state's coronavirus public health advisory scale Thursday, however, 83 of Ohio's 88 counties are considered "high incidence."
As of Thursday, cases in the state totaled 208,937; deaths 5,275; hospitalizations 18,800; and ICU admissions 3,816. Wednesday also saw the highest single-day increase of cases ever in the state: 3,590.
Putnam, Auglaize and Holmes counties top the list of spread. Only two counties – Noble and Monroe – remain at Level 2 or yellow.
“This is by far the most cases we’ve seen during the entire pandemic. In fact, it’s about 700 cases more than our previous high which was just a few days ago. The virus is raging throughout the state of Ohio. There is no place to hide,” Gov. Mike DeWine said Thusday. “Since there is no place to hide, all of us have to come together to fight this enemy."
DeWine said the tools to do so are simple: wear a mask, wash hands, keep your distance from others and make sure indoor gathering places, if unavoidable, have good ventilation.
“We’ve got to get back to fundamentals, we’ve got to get back to basics,” he said.
He also called on leaders of each community in the state to create a COVID defense team that includes county health commissioners, mayors and hospital, business and religious leaders.
"A major part of their job will be to explain to people in their community exactly what is going on and what steps must be taken to stop the advance of this virus," he said.
The 'Bright' Spot
No county went purple, which DeWine called "the one bright spot" of the current COVID-19 spike.
Cuyahoga County spent a week on the Ohio Department of Health’s watch list for counties that may be moved from red to purple, the highest risk level assessment.
In Cuyahoga County, the governor said, outpatient emergency visits are in an “elevated plateau” and “hospital admissions have been increasing,” but enough indicators held steady or dropped to remove the county from the purple watch list Thursday.
"No counties are on our watch list, however, this virus is spreading significantly," DeWine said, pointing to Cuyahoga and Hamilton counties specifically for evidence of "very disturbing" trends.
Dr. Richard Lofgren, president and CEO of University of Cincinnati Health said Hamilton County has seen a "decisive" increase in cases.
"We did a great job as Ohioans suppressing the virus through the summer and into the early part of the fall," he said. Now, "cases have nearly been doubling every two weeks and one of the things that's really notable is this spread is diffuse. There is no one particular area. What we used to see was in the highly dense urban core; that's not the case anymore."
Lofgren said we are "social animals" and are "letting our guard down” and those challenges will continue entering the holiday season.
ideastream's Gayle S. Putrich contributed to this report.
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