CINCINNATI (FOX19) - Ohio Governor Mike DeWine announced the first county in the state jumped to Purple Alert Level 4 on the advisory system map.
Franklin County has more than 100 cases per 100,000 residents and met six of the seven indicators. Level 4 shows severe exposure and advises residents to only leave home for supplies and services.
“While Franklin is the only county moving to purple this week, we see similar stories in much of the state,” DeWine said. “We also have 3 other counties that are meeting as many indicators as Franklin. Since this is their first week meeting those indicators, they move to watch list status: Lake, Lorain, Montgomery. If trends continue, they could join Franklin as purple next week.
According to the Ohio Department of Health, there are 326,615 cases and 5,890 deaths.
That’s an increase of 7,787 cases in 24 hours.
The ODH said thousands of reports are pending review.
“We made a decision to double-check all antigen test results, so the 24-hour case change is low. Our data team tells us there are 12,000 antigen tests that have not yet been double-checked. Most of the 12,000 are expected to be confirmed,” DeWine said.
DeWine said testing has gone up 43% since Oct. 17 - cases have gone up 299%.
He also said the number of emergency department visits has shot up since September and continues to grow.
“We are now in the middle of another surge in patients who are hospitalized. As of today, we are up to 3,829 COVID-19 patients who are currently in the hospital, with 943 of those in the ICU. These are the highest patient counts we’ve had during this pandemic,” he said.
The governor spoke about Senate Bill 311, which would ban the Ohio Department of Health from issuing mandatory quarantine orders enforced against people who are not sick or exposed to the disease.
He said the bill if ever enacted, would severely limit the ability of the ODH to issue orders needed to prevent the spread of infectious disease.
DeWine stated this example: If a person comes to Ohio from a country with an Ebola outbreak, future leaders couldn’t ask them to quarantine until it’s certain they were not directly exposed to a carrier of the disease. They would be free to be in any public place - possibly spreading the disease.
“SB 311 is a disaster. I know it’s well-intended by the General Assembly, but when you look at the ramifications, this is not a bill that can become law,” he said. “Doctors, nurses, and scientists have all advised me that this bill would do great harm if it became law. For that reason, if SB 311 passes, I will veto it.”
The statewide curfew the governor issued starts Thursday, Nov. 19 to slow the spread of COVID-19.
The curfew will be in effect for 21 days from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m.
Retail establishments should be closed and people should be at home during those hours, the governor said.
DeWine adds that going to work, an emergency, or medical care are exceptions to the curfew. He says it’s also not intended to prevent people from going to a pharmacy or getting groceries.
Take-out, drive-thru, and meal delivery are still allowed but no food and drink can be served in person after 10 p.m.
“We’re not looking for police to be out there pulling people over if they see them driving at night. We should assume they have a legitimate reason for being out. But if police see people congregated somewhere while the curfew is in effect, they can ask them to go home,” DeWine said.
He said the reason a statewide shutdown hasn’t been issued is because of the ramifications Ohio could face.
“We know that Ohioans have it in their power to slow this down. That’s why we put an emphasis on personal responsibility. The big spread is coming from what people do in their personal lives when interacting with friends and family outside of their household,” DeWine said.
On Wednesday, the governor said the first batch of the COVID-19 vaccine will hopefully be here in December, according to what President Donald Trump’s administration told him.
The first round will be about 33,000 vaccines and go towards the elderly and healthcare workers first, the governor said.
Here is a look at the total cases and deaths in the FOX19 NOW viewing area:
- Hamilton County - 26,468 cases, 367 deaths
- Butler County - 13,050 cases, 142 deaths
- Warren County - 7,031 cases, 73 deaths
- Clermont County - 4,817 cases, 44 deaths
- Brown County - 798 cases, four deaths
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