COLUMBUS (WCMH) — Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine and Lt. Gov. Jon Husted provided an update on COVID-19 in the state Tuesday after a record number of hospitalizations was reported.
As of Tuesday, Oct. 20, a total of 185,639 (+2,015) cases have been reported in Ohio since the pandemic began, leading to 5,083 (+8) deaths and 17,388 (+216) hospitalizations. There are 152,460 Ohioans presumed to have recovered from the virus.
The number of hospitalizations is the highest since the pandemic began, DeWine said.
DeWine brought on Dr. Andy Thomas of Ohio State’s Wexner Medical Center to discuss hospital capacity. Thomas said it is being monitored across the state and that action may come if hospitalizations don’t start to come down soon. For example, in the spring when the pandemic began, elective surgical procedures were suspended for several weeks.
DeWine also expressed concern about Ohio schools being unable to have classes in person. He said at least 50 districts have fully online classes, affecting 300,000 students, and that some districts have decided to scale back from fully in-person learning to remote or hybrid models.
“I want to ask you to think about something else that is clearly at stake, and that is whether our kids can be in school,” DeWine said. “That’s really one of the things that’s certainly at stake and it really depends on what we’re willing to do, our willingness to wear masks.”
And like many Ohioans, DeWine is following Ohio State as it begins its pandemic-delayed football season Saturday at home against Nebraska. He said he knows that Ohioans wills be gathering to watch the Buckeyes on TV.
“As we get together to watch football, just be careful,” DeWine said.
Last Thursday, Franklin County returned to a level 3, or red, on the state’s public health advisory map. Licking and Madison counties also are at level 3, with Delaware, Fairfield and Pickaway counties at level 2, or orange. All six counties showing a high rate of spread as defined by the CDC.
DeWine said that he is hearing from state health commissioners that one issue may be fewer people wearing masks. Although mask-wearing has been good at schools, it has been less so at social and family gatherings.
He continued to emphasize mask-wearing and social-distancing as the main things that Ohioans can do to limit the spread of the virus.