COLUMBUS — Gov. Mike DeWine implored all Ohio residents to double down on preventing the spread of COVID-19.
“We have reached the most critical point in our fight against the coronavirus,” he said Wednesday during a statewide address. “If all of us do not take immediate action to slow this virus now, the tragedy we see in Florida, Texas, Arizona and California may well be our reality in a matter of weeks.”
Ohio’s rate of coronavirus infections has returned to the levels the state experienced during the height of the pandemic in March and April. Hospitals in Cincinnati and Dayton are seeing more patients test positive for COVID-19 than ever before, including during the height of the virus.
“Today, more Ohioans are getting sick than at any previous point in this pandemic,” DeWine said. “We are sliding down a very dangerous path, with our once flattened-curve starting to sharpen and spike. This is a worrisome, disturbing reversal of our progress — a jarring reminder of just how quickly our fate can change.”
The governor implored Ohioans to wear masks when going outside in public. DeWine said that masks can and should be viewed as an alternative to another lockdown, based on research and consensus from the CDC and other health experts.
In the first stage of the pandemic, it took Ohio 20 days to reach 1,500 new coronavirus cases. Now, Ohio has reached 1,500 new cases in a single day. While some of those numbers can be attributed to an increase in testing, the explosive increase in coronavirus infections cannot be solely attributed to the increase in tests, according to DeWine.
“Our testing has gone up by 87 percent. But our number of positive cases has skyrocketed — by almost 200 percent,” he said. “Our number of new cases is not just the result of increased testing.”
To date, more than 3,000 Ohioans have died due to the coronavirus, nearly the same number of Ohioans who were killed in the Vietnam War.
An outbreak like the coronavirus has not been seen in American since the Spanish Flu in 1918, more than a century ago. The governor asked Ohioans to unite, referencing the resilience the state displayed in the earlier months of the pandemic.
“These are once in a hundred year sacrifices,” DeWine said. “I’ve seen you do this. I know you can do this. Ohioans can continue to help our most vulnerable, while also protecting ourselves and our families. Together, we can be the Ohio where our hospitals are not overwhelmed, where our schools can open, where sports can start, and where our economy can continue to grow.”