CINCINNATI (FOX19) - Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine said the state is reporting the highest single-day total of COVID-19 hospitalizations.
According to the Ohio Department of Health, there are 185,639 cases and 5,083 deaths.
Ohio reported 216 hospitalizations in the past 24 hours which is 50 more than the previous high in July.
New cases reported were 2,015, which is up from the 21-day average of 1,559.
Dr. Andy Thomers with the Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center said he believes hospitals can handle the current capacity, but the concern is they’re not seeing the number of cases and hospitalizations peak.
“If numbers continue to rise, we’ll run into difficult decisions to make,” he said.
“A lot is at stake in Ohio because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Lives are at stake. We worry about hospitals filling up. We worry about long-term health issues for those who recover. We also worry about the education of our children,” DeWine said.
He said it should concern Ohioans that so many kids are going to school remotely.
According to DeWine, in the last two weeks at least 16 districts have scaled back to hybrid or fully remote models because of spread. There are at least 50 districts in the state that are fully on-line right now, with nearly 300,000 students unable to attend in-person classes.
“While many kids can do well under these circumstances, many cannot. Some of our poorest children who thrive in an in-person learning environment do not do nearly as well online,” he said. “We owe it to these kids to fight back against this virus and reduce community spread. We owe it to their future. We owe it to the state’s future. We can control this through what we do every single day.”
What is causing the spread in the state?
DeWine said a recent report from the White House Coronavirus Task Force notes the increase is initiated by social friends and family gatherings.
“The Task Force recommends that Ohioans limit friend and family get-togethers to prevent situations where the virus can rapidly spread and reach those most at risk of complications,” he said. “It’s not big formal events or workplaces where they are seeing the most spread – it’s informal gatherings.”
DeWine said they have submitted Ohio’s interim draft of the COVID-19 vaccine plant to the CDC.
“This is a framework of how decisions will be made when we know more about the vaccine and will provide us a way forward in the next chapter of the pandemic,” he said.
The Ohio Department of Health will be launching a registration tool for health care providers who would like to eventually administer the vaccine, according to DeWine.
DeWine is urging all residents to get flu shots, especially college students.
“You can have both viruses at the same time, and we want to do everything we can to avoid that,” he said.
DeWine announced that after asking the Ohio Bureau of Workers Compensation on Aug. 20, public and private employers should begin seeing checks – totaling around $1.3 billion - beginning this week.
“These checks will be mailed to employers throughout the end of October. These checks will not be directly deposited into any bank accounts,” he said.
As alarming as the metrics are, just as alarming is how quickly they accelerated. Three weeks ago the metrics showed Ohio beating the virus. Now?
“This thing has roared back,” DeWine said, adding every indicator is trending in the wrong direction.
It’s spreading fastest around Greater Cincinnati, a region that previously had been spared a true case surge.
Southwest Ohio’s COVID-19 incident rates are double what the White House considers a ‘high incident level’ for the virus, DeWine said.