He attributes the rise to lax social distancing, not enough people wearing masks and refusal to follow quarantine and isolation guidelines.
“There’s also increased spread among families and households in churches and after-school activities and sports. We’ve seen these gatherings many times, they’re turning into outbreaks,” said Gov. DeWine.
The latest COVID-19 advisory map shows 18 counties in the red, level three for very high exposure, the highest number since July 23. Fifty-eight counties are orange, the highest number recorded so far.
DeWine said half of newly designated red counties have outbreaks related to funerals or weddings.
Five red counties are in Northeast Ohio: Richland, Ashland, Portage, Trumbull and Mahoning.
In Portage County, Kent State University is coordinating with CVS to provide free testing for students, staff and faculty, starting Monday.
“The city of Kent health department officials also report that in recent weeks, they are seeing cases start to creep into an older population, not just the students,” he said.
Trumbull County jumped from yellow to red on the advisory map.
“Local health department officials report an outbreak of 22 cases, with a school sports team, the outbreak involves eleven players, three coaches and expanded to four students not on the team and four parents. One coach had to be hospitalized,” he said.
DeWine considers wearing a mask a “pathway to freedom,” allowing schools and businesses to remain open.
“Ohio, we have gotten this far, we have done well, we have not gone over the edge, we have not seen that fire flare up, but it’s starting to come, that fire is starting to come,” he said.
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