COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Ohioans were cautioned Thursday to return to being vigilant about social distancing, mask-wearing and hand-washing, after cases of COVID-19 hit their highest mark since mid-April.
The latest round of cases disproportionately struck younger Ohioans, with 60% being reported among people 20 to 49, according to figures from the Ohio Department of Health. The average age of Ohioans getting the disease once thought to be a particular threat to the elderly has now dropped to 42.
Republican Gov. Mike DeWine called Thursday’s numbers — 892 new cases, 55 hospitalizations and 17 deaths overnight — “chilling.”
“If you don’t worry about yourself, worry about your grandparents,” DeWine said, speaking to his “friends in their 20s.”
The governor said increased testing for the new coronavirus could not entirely explain the rise in Ohio cases. However, additional test results are giving an increasingly clearer picture of the disease’s presence in younger age groups who were not included in rounds of early testing reserved for health care workers or those who were already sick, he said.