Coronavirus: 96% of Ohioans live in orange, red counties, DeWine says

Coronavirus is spreading to more parts of Ohio and is affecting a wider group of residents with 96% of Ohioans living in orange and red counties, Gov. Mike DeWine said.

There are 18 red counties, including Montgomery, Butler and Mercer counties, the highest number of red counties since July 23.

There are 58 orange counties, the most ever reported in Ohio. The majority of the Miami Valley is orange, with the exception of the three red counties.

When talking to local health departments, officials are citing lax social distancing and mask wearing and people not following quarantine and isolation guidelines, DeWine said.

“To live with the virus we need to adjust our routines,” DeWine said. “That may mean reconsidering attending a crowded event, reconsidering attending a party.”

He noted that while Ohioans have done well in the past, it’s important that residents continue to follow to health guidelines.

He cited one case where an outbreak was traced back to a wedding and two grandfathers died.

“These lives matter,” DeWine said.

He reminded Ohioans that their actions impact things remaining open. He noted that some schools have had to move to virtual classes due to outbreaks. If the virus continues to spread schools could be forced to decided to close or athletic seasons and clubs being canceled, he said.

The governor also urged Ohioans to get a flu shot, noting that experts say now is the perfect time to be vaccinated.

More than 1,500 new cases of coronavirus were reported in Ohio Thursday as the state continues to see an upward trend in cases.

There have been 164,262 total cases reported during the pandemic, according to the Ohio Department of Health.

DeWine noted that the state’s positivity rate is starting to increase. The rolling seven-day rate is 3.3%. At its lowest rate in mid to late September it was 2.7%.

“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,” he said.

More than 100 hospitalizations were reported for the third straight day in Ohio, bringing the total to 16,200.

Over the last few days, DeWine has repeated concerns about increasing hospital admissions due to coronavirus, but noted that the state’s hospitals still have adequate capacity.

Recent trends show more hospitalizations are being reported on the western half of Ohio, including the Miami Valley. Rural communities are also reporting more admissions, DeWine said.

Deaths increased by 13 for a total of 4,983. There were 11 ICU admissions reported Thursday, bumping the total up to 3,395.

A new public health order outlining guidance on indoor visitations at nursing home and assistant living centers has been signed, the governor said.

Previously state officials announced that indoor visitations could resume starting Monday, Oct. 12.

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