State remains concerned with coronavirus uptick in Hamilton County, DeWine says

Gov. Mike DeWine gives update on state’s coronavirus response

COLUMBUS, Ohio (FOX19) - Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine said Monday that the state remains concerned about Hamilton County amid the spike in coronavirus cases.

According to DeWine, at the end of May and into early June, Hamilton County was holding steady at an average of 30 cases per day per 100,000 population. As of this past week, the average new cases per day increased to approximately 100 cases per 100,000.

“Due to the delayed diagnosis, these numbers may continue to grow for this reporting period. By reviewing other healthcare indicators, we can see that this is not solely because of increased testing,” he said.

In one week’s time, doctor visits in the county nearly doubled from 40 to 78 visits per day.

DeWine said the number of COVID-positive patients being treated in standard hospital beds, ICU beds, and on ventilators has steadily increased.

In Hamilton County, the number of COVID-positive patients has doubled from the low of 65 on June 11 to more than 130 this weekend.

Last week, DeWine said the state is seeing a big increase in positive coronavirus cases.

According to the Ohio Department of Health, there are 51,046 cases and 2,818 deaths.

Cases have increased by 3,395 since his announcement on June 25.

The average age of people infected in March was 51. So far in June, that number has decreased to 42.

There has also been a shift in younger people driving an increase in cases, DeWine said.

“We have increased testing, but we do not believe this increase in cases is completely due to testing,” he said.

DeWine said if the spread of the virus remained at a low level, more testing should show a lower positivity.

“Instead, the creeping up of our positivity rate even as we are doing more testing means that we are likely picking up signs of broader community spread,” he said.

Last week was the state’s first week of increasing COVID-19 hospital utilization after over two months of decreasing utilization since late April.

The number of standard hospital beds occupied by COVID-19 positive patients had peaked in late April and early May at about 1,000 and reached a low of 513 on June 20th.

“Just last week though, we had about 500 to 550 total COVID-19 patients occupying beds in Ohio hospitals. This week, we are now at around 650. Thankfully, ICU/ventilator utilization is still holding steady, but we are seeing increases in some areas of the state,” he said.

According to DeWine, the increase in occupancy is most apparent in the Cleveland, Dayton and Cincinnati areas.

In Dayton and Cincinnati, the increase in hospital utilization includes standard beds, as well as ICU beds and ventilators.

DeWine said there are many more COVID-19 pop-up testing locations coming to the state. You can also find a list of testing and community health centers statewide here.

There will be sites in Cincinnati daily.

DeWine also announced that beginning July 20, nursing homes are permitted to begin outdoor visitation.

Nursing homes should consider:

  • Case status in community
  • Case status in nursing home
  • Staffing levels
  • Access to adequate testing for residents/staff
  • Personal protective equipment supplies
  • Hospital capacity

“We are confident that our approach provides each facility the flexibility needed to assess their readiness to safely facilitate outdoor visitation -- and to do so in a transparent way that keeps residents and families informed,” DeWine said.

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