Coronavirus: Ohio sets one-day record for new cases

Ohio set a one-day record for new coronavirus cases, Gov. Mike DeWine said Thursday.

He reported 1,733 new cases in the last 24 hours and noted that of Ohio’s 10 highest numbers of daily cases, nine have come in the past three weeks.

”That’s certainly not good news,” DeWine said.

He also noted that admissions to Intensive Care Units are increasing, but said the total number of hospitalizations and deaths were close to the 21-day average.

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Ohio’s previous record was 1,679 new cases on July 17. The 21-day average number of new cases had been about 1,350.

Since the pandemic began, there have been 89,626 total cases of coronavirus and 3,442 deaths attributed to the virus in Ohio, according to the Ohio Department of Health.

The state is reporting 84,862 confirmed cases and 3,177 deaths.

Hospitalizations increased by 125 in a day to a total of 10,678, and ICU admissions went up by 21 for a total of 2,534.

ODH is reporting 64,311 presumed recoveries.

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The governor announced updated alert levels, with Montgomery County remaining at level three and Clark County dropping to level 2 after spending a week at level 3.

“The good news is that more people are wearing masks in our urban counties, and we are seeing the spread slow,” he said. “The bad news is our more rural counties are turning orange with significantly more spread taking place.”

There are 13 counties at level 3, 52 counties at level 2 and 23 at level 1. Shelby, Darke, Miami, Preble, Greene, Butler and Warren counties were at level 2. Champaign County is the only county at level 1 in the Miami Valley region.

“This virus is vicious,” DeWine said, noting that anyone can catch it.

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DeWine is calling on the Ohio Liquor Control Commission to consider an emergency measure stopping liquor sales at 10 p.m. at bars and restaurants.

Consumption of alcohol must end by 11 p.m. Businesses could stay open, but by cutting off alcohol sales at 10 p.m., DeWine said he believes it would help thin out crowds and therefore slow the spread of the virus.

“The problem is, bars, by their nature, lend themselves to a revolving door of people in close contact, oftentimes indoors,” he said. “Patrons either stay at one location, sometimes for hours or bar hop. Either way, they interact with many different people - especially the younger crowd.”

The Liquor Control Commission will have an emergency meeting at 9 a.m. tomorrow. If the rule is approved, DeWine said he intends to sign an executive order that would make it effective Friday night.

The governor also announced recommendations for gathering safely, but noted that mass gatherings are still limited at 10.

Residents in level 3 or 4 counties should limit hosting or attending gatherings of any sizes and people should wear a mask at all times and continue physical distancing.

Ohioans should try to make the group they interact with as small as possible and high-risk individuals should take extra precautions to limit who they interact with.

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DeWine said the Ohio Board of Pharmacy’s decision to withdraw a new rule prohibiting the sale of hydroxychloroquine for coronavirus treatment the right decision.

He called the process of arriving to the initial rule “flawed” and said that the board should’ve had a hearing and sought more input from the medical community first.

“As governor, I do not and should not have a position on the use of this drug for treating coronavirus patients,” he said. “We should leave this up to doctors and scientists. I expect the medical board and the pharmacy board to examine this issue based on the best science.”

Earlier today the governor called on the Ohio Board of Pharmacy to halt a new rule that would prohibit the sale of hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine to treat coronavirus.

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Hours later, the board announced that it was withdrawing the rule, which was scheduled to go into effect today.

“As a result of the feedback received by the medical and patient community and at the request of Gov. DeWine, the State of Ohio Board of Pharmacy has withdrawn proposed rule 4729:5-5-21 of the Administrative Code,” read a statement from the board. “Therefore, prohibitions on the prescribing of chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine in Ohio for the treatment of COVID-19 will not take effect at this time.”

On Tuesday the governor announced that all fair starting on or after July 31 will be limited to junior fairs and 4-H and FFA competitions. There will be no grandstand events, rides, games or carnivals.

DeWine also said that daycare providers will be able to return to pre-pandemic class sizes and ratios starting Aug. 9. Facilities will have the option of returning to normal ratios or staying at the current lower ratios and receiving a subsidy.

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