Gov. DeWine announced outdoor nursing home visitations can resume July 20

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COLUMBUS, Ohio (WJW) — Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine gave a surprise COVID-19 briefing today at 2 p.m., following an uptick in coronavirus cases throughout the state.

In Cleveland alone, there have been 100 new cases reported in the last two days.

DeWine explained that last week, Ohio’s COVID-19 hospital utilization went up for the first time in two months. He said he’s still concerned about the virus rates in Hamilton County and Montgomery County, and was on the phone with the White House recently to get more funding/testing to these areas. He did not announce a mandatory mask requirement at this time, but did say that everyone should get tested for the virus.

DeWine also announced that nursing homes are allowed to start outdoor visitation July 20, as long as safety standards are in place.

The new Ohio numbers for today, as reported by the Ohio Department of Health, seem to continue this upward trend, with 737 new cases.

There were 51,046 total confirmed and probable cases of COVID-19 in the state with 2,818 total deaths. The total number of hospitalizations due to the virus is 7,746 people.

Here are the Ohio counties with the most coronavirus cases:

  • Franklin: 8,982
  • Cuyahoga: 6,694
  • Hamilton: 4,922
  • Marion: 2.724
  • Lucas: 2,584

And here are the Ohio counties with the most coronavirus deaths:

  • Franklin: 395
  • Cuyahoga: 352
  • Lucas: 299
  • Summit: 204
  • Mahoning: 228

Gov. DeWine said what’s happening in Texas and Florida is a cautionary tale. He said it frightens him. He said he needs more people to wear masks.

“We can control our future,” DeWine said. “This mask is a symbol of freedom.”

Ohio continues to offer free COVID-19 testing sites around the state, for anyone interested in having the test, no referral or appointment necessary. However, the sites do fill up fast, so it’s better to arrive early.

There will not be a press conference tomorrow, barring an emergency, the governor said. Instead, DeWine and his wife Fran are participating in a round table event with the First Lady and other members of the Trump administration.

DeWine is working on plans for the next phase to keep Ohio open. He said he expects to have an update on these plans on Thursday.

Asked whether there are coronavirus numbers that would push DeWine to shut down the Ohio economy again, he said: “this is a process where we continue to learn, and see what’s happening in other places … having said that, we have seven metrics, we’ll go into next time, when you see higher numbers being reached, we’ll go over that next time …We hope people will do what they need to do.”

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