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82 counties report high virus rate

Community spread driving state’s COVID-19 numbers, governor says

“Sadly, the red tide of the virus continues to spread throughout Ohio, in every corner of the state. There is no escaping it,” Gov. Mike DeWine said during his Tuesday coronavirus update.

Now, 82 of the state’s 88 counties are classified as “high incidence spread” counties, DeWine said. Mahoning County, which is at the red level, is one of the counties; Trumbull and Columbiana counties are not — both are at the orange level.

A high-incidence county is a county with more than 100 cases per 100,000 people over the last two weeks, set by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The rate is 114.13 in Mahoning County. The list is updated Thursdays. Trumbull County’s rate is 81.32 cases per 100,000 people, and the rate is 86.37 in Columbiana County.

“As we look at these numbers, I think every Ohioan needs to be alarmed by what we are seeing,” DeWine said.

The 2,509 new cases reported Tuesday is above the 21-day average of 1,973 in the three weeks prior. There have been 202,740 cases in the state since the pandemic began.

Some of the highest spread in the state is now in the smallest counties; counties in the Valley are not among them.

Hospitalizations are increasing in the state and are higher than the curve over the summer, DeWine said. The increase is sharper, and there is no indication the numbers are ready to plateau, he said.

The number of COVID-19 cases that having ended up in the intensive care unit has doubled since the beginning of October, DeWine said, which is “very concerning.”

Hospitals haven’t hit capacity, but the trend is troubling, DeWine said.

Hospitalization and ICU admission rate data is reported by hospitals. The hospitals report people who have been admitted for COVID-19; it is not a general reporting of how many patients or visits hospitals have for other ailments.

“It is community spread that is driving this,” DeWine said.

Nursing homes, schools and hospital capacity ultimately will be impacted by the behavior of people in the greater community, DeWine said.

Failure to wear masks, not practice social distancing, attendance at sports-watching parties, attendance at large wedding receptions, hanging out in crowded bars, holding house parties and engaging in extended family gatherings will increase spread and endanger the ability of schools to stay open and puts people in nursing homes at risk, DeWine said. It also could lead to hospitals becoming overrun. Although that hasn’t happened in Ohio, it has happened in other states, he said.

“We have to get back to basics; we have to get back to fundamentals,” DeWine said.

Wear masks, wash hands and improve ventilation in public spaces, he said.

Reconsider hosting or attending gatherings of any size, and don’t go to Halloween parties, he said.

When wearing a mask, ensure it covers the mouth and the nose, DeWine said.

DeWine said businesses should allow employees to work from home, if they can.

“Our problem is community spread,” DeWine said.

He asked leaders in every county to redouble their efforts.

It is time for each community to re-evaluate what they are doing to reduce spread — county commissioners, mayors, faith leaders and others in leadership roles should take an active role, DeWine said.

COVID-19 by the numbers

The number of cases, changes in cases and deaths in counties in the region and statewide as of Tuesday:

County Cases Change since Change since Deaths

yesterday last week

Trumbull 2,404 +24 +183 134

Mahoning 3,889 +26 +254 287

Columbiana 2,190 +5 +89 88

Ohio 202,740 +2,509 +17,101 5,239

SOURCE: Ohio Department of Health

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