In a press briefing on Monday, November 17, 2020 Governor Mike DeWine reported good news coming from Moderna and Pfizer who are working on making COVID-19 vaccines available.
Unfortunately he also reported the cases of Coronavirus continue to rise, calling for the need for a plan to get Ohio through this “bad spot” we’re in.
DeWine shared that the number of COVID-19 cases reported have been running between 7,000 to 8,000 diagnosed new cases over the last week compared to about 1,000 cases six weeks or so ago.
DeWine reports the Coronavirus situation in Ohio is deteriorating.
He shared slides indicating Oct 13th, Ohio had 1,000 people in hospitals throughout Ohio with COVID-19. By November 5th the number hospitalized due to COVID-19 doubled to 2,000.
By November 12th the number increased to 3,000 and by the 17th of November that number had nearly doubled again to 3,648 total people hospitalized due to COVID-19.
The number of people in ICU has increased from 280 one month ago to nearly triple, 900 ICU patients as of November 17th. DeWine reported every single county in Ohio, even those with the lowest number of cases, has at least two times the high-instance level set by the CDC.
The top five counties in Ohio are Putnam, Mercer county, Allen, Lake, and Auglaize.
DeWine indicated the numbers reported from top highest 20 counties mean 1 out of 100 people in Ohio have been diagnosed with COVID-19. He also warns not everyone is being diagnosed, which means the chances of running into someone with COVID-19 in Ohio are very high.
The plan going forward for Ohio
DeWine called for a plan that creates a bridge to get Ohio from where it is now to the point where vaccines will be available in numbers that could begin to create herd immunity.
Retail mask inspectors went out this week for the first time to help ensure that Ohio consumers are wearing masks in greater numbers in retail establishments.
DeWine encouraged Ohio consumers to continue to wear masks when going out in public and to retail establishments. He reissued last week an order that people should not gather in groups of more than ten people.
Wedding ceremonies and funerals are not impacted but receptions must follow restaurant protocol. Masks should be worn when not eating and people should remain seated at an appropriate social distance.
DeWine asks Ohio residents to reduce the number of people you come into contact with on a daily basis until further notice. He stated he is not closing businesses at this time but is asking Ohio residents to limit their contact with other people.
Curfew will begin for Ohio on Thursday, November 19, 2020
All retail establishments (walk-in) are asked to close from 10 p.m. in the evening until 5 a.m. in the morning for the next three weeks.
Carry out or delivery can continue for any establishments that are normally operating at that hour. Grocery stores or pharmacies may remain open.
He asks each person in Ohio to stay home after 10 p.m. and before 5 a.m. for the next 21 days during the curfew unless you are going to work or must go out for some pressing reason. There are exceptions for emergencies and DeWine stated people should use common sense when deciding whether or not to go into public.
Do your part
He also asks Ohio residents to do one thing every day that reduces your contact with other people or one thing that increases your emotional contact with other people but not physical contact.
Suggested actions include:
- Watch sporting events from home using Skype or other conferencing software
- Wear a mask for church or participate in virtual services instead
- Call and talk to a friend on the phone rather than visiting in person
- Write letters to people rather than visiting in person
- Consolidate your trips to retail establishments.
He is asking every Ohioan to do something every day to cut down their physical contact with other people. The curfew on retail establishments will remain for at least three weeks.
A decrease in numbers of 25% or more after three weeks would go a long way toward keeping vulnerable loved ones and other Ohioans at risk safer until vaccines can be made available.
The science of COVID-19
Chief Medical Officer, Ohio Department of Health, Dr. Bruce Vanderhoff, then spoke about the science of COVID-19.
He stated we did not know much at start but what we now know is that it is spread through virus droplets in the air.
If we cough, sneeze, or otherwise expel airborne droplets within the vicinity of another person, that person is at risk if we are infected.
Social distancing (six feet apart) and wearing a mask accomplish three things:
- Protects the person you’re interacting with
- Protects the wearer from being on the receiving end of another person’s respiratory droplets.
- There is now scientific evidence that if you are wearing a mask when exposed, you are less likely to get sick. (This is because if wearing a mask when exposed to the virus, it helps to reduce the viral load and makes the sickness less severe.)
Dr. Vanderhoff also warned about the importance of having good ventilation when indoors around people who aren’t in your inner circle. Even people who feel absolutely fine can be asymptomatic and pass the virus on to others around them.
Keeping your distance, mask wearing, and good ventilation work in combination to protect against viral transmission.
He recommended that people celebrate small this year and keep gatherings to the number of people that live in your household will help protect you and your family.
Even though we’ve made great progress in stockpiling supplies and equipment needed, the critical issue now is staffing.
Many workers are being exposed by their family member and friends outside of the hospital or through working with patients and are now having to quarantine.
Many others have been caring for patients for months and are simply exhausted. These issues are impacting the number of staff available in hospitals to care for increasing numbers of COVID-19 patients.
What’s next for Ohio
It’s important for everyone to stay emotionally connected to people, to get fresh air, sunlight, engage in spiritual or meditation activities, and exercise every day over the next several weeks.
We’re at a critical juncture in Ohio. We need to all do that we can to reduce physical contact with other people and prevent the transmission or possible transmission of the virus.
The situation will be re-evaluated after the 21-day curfew to determine whether it will be lifted, needs to continue, or whether a full shutdown could be in order.
DeWine did not rule out a full shutdown in Ohio, but stated this curfew being enacted is an attempt to prevent a full shutdown in the future.