The state had its second-highest day for hospitalizations, with 268 reported in the last 24 hours, DeWine said. Hospitalizations total at 21,558 in Ohio. Over the last 21 days, Ohio is averaging 185 hospitalizations reported each day.
On Thursday, there were 3,024 COVID-19 patients in Ohio hospitals, nearly double the 1,621 reported on Oct. 30. In southwest Ohio, there were 826 coronavirus patients hospitalized, 206 in ICUs and 104 on ventilators.
Coronavirus patients account for 11.87% of the region’s hospital beds. Non-coronavirus patients are in 4,420 beds, or 63.51% Southwest Ohio has 1,713 hospital beds, 24.62%, open as of Thursday.
Ohio will send $30 million in aid to help local health departments battle the coronavirus pandemic, DeWine announced Thursday.
Each of the state’s 113 health departments will receive $200,000 with the remaining funds being used to hire contact tracers to help health departments.
“Those tracers would be able to deploy wherever they are needed across the state to assist in identifying individuals who may have been exposed to COVID-19 and prevent further spread," DeWine said.
DeWine announced two new COVID-19 dashboards, including one that breaks down confirmed and probable cases by zip code.
“Case counts will also be available on a downloadable filterable chart sorted from the highest cases to the least,” he said. “To protect confidentiality, we aren’t showing case counts for zip codes with fewer than 5 cases or less than 100 total residents.”
The second dashboard will look at flu trends across the state, including hospitalizations. The data will be broken by region, county, date, sex, age, race and ethnicity, DeWine said. It will only show positive flu PCR tests reported by public health and select clinical labs that participate in national flu monitoring.
The state continued see coronavirus spread throughout Ohio, with 68 counties at level 3, including almost the entire Miami Valley region.
Darke and Logan counties remain at level 2, while the rest are at level 3.
There is only one yellow, or level 1, county left in Ohio: Noble County. Franklin and Tuscarawas counties both are on the level 4 watch list.
DeWine addressed Ohioans Wednesday evening, issuing and new and stricter face mask order.
The new order will include the following three provisions:
- Businesses must post a face mask requirement sign at all public entrances
- Stores will be responsible for ensuring customers and employees wear masks
- The state’s new Retail Compliance Unit will inspect to ensure compliance
If the order is violated, a written warning will be issued. After a second violation, the store will be closed for up to 24 hours.
"We know that masks work. It is the easiest, most cost-effective way to limit the spread of COVID-19,” DeWine said.
He noted that there are medical exceptions for those who are unable to wear masks.
The governor warned that if Ohio can’t get the virus under control, he will be forced to close restaurants, bars and fitness centers. The state plans to reassess the situation next week before making a decision.
“We don’t want another shutdown,” DeWine said. “We can all avoid a shutdown if we are very careful. This is within our control. We don’t have to let it get that bad. We don’t have to let it get to the point where hospitals are full. We all have it in our power to prevent this.”