COLUMBUS, Ohio (FOX19) - Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine spoke about the coronavirus in the state and said in all likelihood things will get worse before they get better.
“This virus is sneaky and cunning and won’t give up. It has a mind of its own,” he said.
According to the Ohio Department of Health, there are 171,626 COVID-19 cases and 5,017 deaths in the state.
DeWine said Ohioans have achieved a lot in comparison to other states by avoiding a huge spike in cases causing hospitals to overflow.
“But, it would appear that we could have a tough winter ahead of us. We are already moving more back inside. Cases are up. Positivity is up. Hospital admissions are up,” he said.
According to DeWine, President Trump’s “Operation Warp Speed,” which is subsidizing vaccine companies' clinical trials and manufacturing costs, is working well.
“A vaccine is coming, and judging by the indicators, it’ll work. But the timing isn’t something Ohioans can control,” DeWine said.
He said something Ohioans can control is wearing masks and avoiding large gatherings.
“We can do this. Wear a mask when you are in any place where you will see others. The virus wants us to get complacent because it needs us to spread it,” DeWine said.
According to DeWine, he said during the pandemic some parents haven’t been able to take their kids to the doctor for well-visits as often as recommended. It led to a drop in vaccinations to protect against measles, chickenpox, whooping cough and polio.
“While we are starting to catch up on these numbers, there is still reason to be concerned. There’s a danger that these diseases could easily spread if children aren’t vaccinated,” he said.
On Tuesday, the state launched a new dashboard to help private entities that are administering coronavirus tests.
“Our new Lab Capacity Database provides self-reported information about labs that can run tests, including hours of operation, types of tests they accept, estimated turn-around time, and locations,” he said.
That dashboard can be seen here.
Last week, he said the numbers are showing Ohio is heading in the wrong direction.
“As of this week, 96% of us are living in a Red or Orange county. That’s 26% in our 18 Red counties and 70% in our Orange counties. Only 4% of Ohioans are in the 12 yellow counties," he said.
Ohio’s lowest positivity was in mid to late September when the single-day rate dipped to 2.5% several times, and the weekly average was 2.7% for the week of Sept. 18.
DeWine said to live with the virus, Ohioans need to adjust their routines.
“That may mean reconsidering attending a crowded event or going to a party. And if you happen to get sick—please answer the phone when you get a call from a contact tracer,” he said. “Our basic prevention measures hold as true today as they did at the beginning of the pandemic: Stay home when you are sick—even if you think you have allergies or a common cold. Wear a mask. Social distance. And quarantine when you are exposed.”
The governor also discussed plans for Abbott BinaxNOW COVID-19 antigen screening tests that the federal government is giving to Ohio.
The tests will first be deployed to colleges and universities to help them implement proactive screening plans.
Next week, screening tests will be sent to nursing homes for both routine and outbreaking testing requirements.
DeWine emphasized that lab-based PCR tests are still considered the “gold standard” test that provides the most accurate results, and antigen tests can have false positives and false negatives.