Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine will give a statewide address Wednesday night, the second time he will make a public appeal about the severity of the coronavirus’ spread to residents since the pandemic began in March.
The governor will speak on “the critical stage Ohio is at in battling COVID-19 and its impact on Ohio moving forward,” according to a news release Tuesday.
Also on Tuesday, DeWine tweeted that the latest data is alarming: Another 6,508 positive COVID-19 cases had been reported in the last 24 hours. Another 386 people had been hospitalized. And 23 more people had died. “Everyone must take this pandemic seriously. It’s up to all of us to stop this spread.”
On Monday morning, he and Lt. Gov. Jon Husted held a Zoom call with Clinton County leaders, including the county commissioners, the county health commissioner, the county EMA director, the Wilmington-Clinton County Chamber of Commerce executive director, and the Clinton County Port Authority executive director.
In the call, DeWine noted that in going back to the last two weeks of August, Clinton County had 41 cases, but now in the prior two weeks “I’m showing you had 168 cases. That has gone up four times.”
A key part of the Zoom call, according to the governor, is “figuring out how we message and you help us message to the people of Clinton County that it’s different today.”
At one juncture, DeWine said that with the high spread of the coronavirus in every Ohio county, “[I]f people are going to go to a store, they have a right to assume that people in the store and customers are not going to be there without wearing masks.”
The lieutenant governor said what family members do over the weekend, is probably going to affect what happens inside school during the week.
During the call, Husted asked who might help coordinate some of the messages locally. Wilmington-Clinton County Chamber of Commerce Director Dessie Rogers replied she is willing to reach out, “maybe talk about some of those community-spread examples,” offer an updated message, and provide local examples for the local audience.
DeWine responded, “Great, thank you. Appreciate that.”
Toward the end of the call, the governor said, “The local, the micro, the county level is probably the most important thing. So, you guys telling the story, explaining to people that wearing a mask both determines how safe their family members are in the nursing home, [and] whether their grandkids can stay in school, making that connection for people.”
The state began to see the second wave in October and the seven-day rolling average of daily new cases in Ohio has risen over the past two weeks from 2,332.57 new cases per day on Oct. 25 to 4,466.86 new cases per day on Nov. 8, according to The COVID Tracking Project and reported by the Associated Press.
Health officials across Ohio have warned of a dark winter, with limited intensive care unit beds if the new surge in coronavirus cases is not curbed in the next few weeks.
During a briefing Monday, DeWine appointed doctors to lead three zones across the state in an attempt to combat the spread of the virus and maintain hospitals’ ability to respond to the pandemic in coming weeks.
“The capacity issues we face now are different from what we experienced in the spring,” said Dr. Bruce Vanderhoff, who was appointed chief medical officer at the Ohio Department of Health by DeWine on Thursday. “What we are seeing now is an increasing demand on our staff.”
Vanderhoff said the state has adequate personal protection equipment and testing capabilities, but warns that medical professionals are starting to become inundated with the number of hospitalized virus patients and soon will be unable to care for acutely ill, non-virus patients.
The Associated Press contributed to this story.