COLUMBUS, Ohio (WJW)– Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine made a plea to state residents during an address on the coronavirus pandemic Wednesday evening. He did not issue any new orders.
This address was departure from his usual 2 p.m. news conferences, where he is accompanied by Ohio Lt. Gov. Jon Husted and the pair answer questions from the media.
“We’ve now reached our most critical point in our battle with the coronavirus. If all of us do not take immediate action to slow this virus down, the tragedy that we see playing out on our television screens every day in Florida, Texas, Arizona and California may well be our reality in just a matter of weeks,” DeWine said.
The governor urged all Ohioans to wear face coverings when they are in public regardless of a county’s status on the Ohio Public Health Advisory Alert System, which determines COVID-19 risk.
DeWine acknowledged that we have all let our guard down. He questioned the benefit of having a family reunion if a grandmother later tests positive for the virus or having a cookout if the neighbor also gets the virus.
“These are short-term inconveniences for long-term freedom,” DeWine said.
At the beginning of the pandemic, it took Ohio 20 days to reach its first 1,500 cases. According to the governor, last week, we saw 1,500 cases in a single day. A month ago, Ohio was at about 400 new cases a day.
There is more testing. DeWine said coronavirus testing has increased by 87 percent, but the number of positive cases increased to almost 200 percent. He said the number of new cases is clearly not just a result of increased testing.
He praised early action by Ohioans, saying it saved lives. In March, DeWine and the Ohio Department of Health closed schools, bars and restaurants, personal services and other industries deemed non-essential.
He said sacrifices now mean our children can go back to school in the fall, our businesses can remain open and our citizens can continue to work.
“We must keep the virus in check so we can rebuild consumer confidence and keep the positive economic momentum going,” DeWine said.
On Wednesday, the Ohio Department of Health said there were 67,995 total confirmed and probable COVID-19 cases in the state since the outbreak began, resulting in 3,069 deaths. In the last 24 hours, 1,316 cases, six fatalities, 160 hospitalizations and 36 intensive care unit admissions were reported to the state health department. The number in the hospital is a significant increase from the state’s 21-day average of 84.
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