COLUMBUS, Ohio (FOX19) - Butler County is moving up among Ohio counties with the most COVID-19 cases and, as a result, it’s back at red alert level, according to Gov. Mike DeWine.
He says, in one week, Butler County moved from eighth in terms of the highest occurrence of COVID-19 cases to fourth.
DeWine says Miami University is impacting that ranking, primarily due to students testing positive following house parties.
He says Miami is not unique and pointed out Ohio State University and the University of Dayton are experiencing the same problems.
“The good news is that there is testing and the university is going after the problem,” the governor said.
His message to students is if they want to stay in class, they have to wear a mask, not go to large parties and social distance.
Miami University President Gregory Crawford joined the governor at his daily briefing to discuss what they are doing to combat the surge of cases on campus.
President Crawford attributes the problem to students who came back to campus early in August and took part in large gatherings.
He says they have protocols in place and are working hard to flatten the curve and stop the upward trend.
Regarding the overall number of cases in the state, the governor says they are consistent with what we’ve seen.
However, Ohio had the highest number of deaths yesterday - 50 - since June.
DeWine said his order will go into effect on Sept. 8 regarding notification about COVID-19 in grade schools.
Parents will be required to notify schools within 24 hours if their child tests positive.
Schools must notify parents and local health departments - in writing - that there has been a positive COVID-19 case.
The information about the cases will be made available on the state’s website every Tuesday.
The governor said they do not intend to release any protected information.
DeWine says the state has received another donation of masks from the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
FEMA gave more than two million masks to the state in early August.
Ohio will now receive an additional nine million masks, four million of which will be distributed to schools.
144,000 will go to the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services to distribute to daycare centers, 2 million will go to programs and organizations that help underserved groups, and 1 million will go to higher education institutions across the state.
The remaining masks will be stored until needed.
Wednesday, the CDC announced that states should ready to receive a COVID-19 vaccine as early as November.
DeWine says they don’t have all the information yet but the state has already started to get people together to talk about priorities and distribution.
“We in Ohio are doing what we can do and what we can do is get ready for whenever that day comes and it can’t be soon enough,” the governor said.
DeWine reiterated the need to be careful with the upcoming Labor Day weekend.
He looked back on the Fourth of July weekend which saw a dramatic increase in travel and people getting together.
As a result, DeWine says, there was an uptick in COVID-19 cases in the days and weeks after the holiday.
He says Vice President Mike Pence expressed directly to him that what we do this weekend will really determine what our fall is going to look like.
Medical experts say it’s not so much where you go but what you do and how you do it when it comes to the spread of COVID-19, DeWine said.
The governor says that means wear a mask and social distance.
Ohio has a new effort in place to study wastewater across the state to help stop the spread of COVID-19.
DeWine says it will provide an early warning sign of an increase in cases, allow decision-makers to implement a plan and alert health care partners about a potential uptick in COVID-19.
There are 22 active sites in major metropolitan areas and more are being added.
Information from the Waste Monitoring Network will be posted at coronavirus.ohio.gov.
Gov. DeWine says Thursday marks the 6-month anniversary of the cancellation of the Arnold Expo in Columbus due to coronavirus concerns.
He says it was a tough decision but he believes “it set Ohio on a very good path”.
The governor says Ohioans have stepped up so we haven’t seen a dramatic spike in COVID-19, at least not yet, as other states have.
DeWine announced that the City of Cincinnati is being awarded a $725,000 grant from the Environmental Protection Agency to remove and replace lead service lines and fixtures at nearly 200 childcare facilities.
The governor applauded Cincinnati’s leaders for being proactive when it comes to preventing lead exposure in the city.