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WKSU, our public radio partners in Ohio and across the region and NPR are all continuing to work on stories on the latest developments with the coronavirus and COVID-19 so that we can keep you informed.

Ohio Counties Avoid Turning 'Purple,' But DeWine Cautions There Is 'No Place To Hide'

a photo of governor Mike DeWine
Andy Chow
/
Statehouse News Bureau
Gov. Mike DeWine reported the highest daily incidence ever of COVID-19 on Thursday, but no county has been elevated to the highest public health alert level.

Despite much speculation, not a single Ohio county turned "purple" on the state's coronavirus health advisory scale Thursday, however, 83 of Ohio's 88 counties are considered "high incidence."

As of Thursday, cases in the state totaled 208,937; deaths 5,275; hospitalizations 18,800; and ICU admissions 3,816. Putnam, Auglaize and Holmes counties top the list of spread. 

"There is no place to hide," Gov. Mike DeWine said during his briefing. "Every county is red or orange. Since there is no place to hide, all of us have to come together to fight this enemy."

DeWine said the tools to do so are "simple": wear a mask, wash hands, maintain social distance and make sure gathering places have good ventilation.

"We have got to get back to basics," he said.

He also called on leaders of each community to create a COVID defense team that includes county health commissioners, mayors and hospital, business and religious leaders.

"A major part of their job will be to explain to people in their community exactly what is going on and what steps must be taken to stop the advance of this virus," he added.

The 'bright' spot
No county went purple, which DeWine called "the one bright spot."

"No counties are on our watch list, however, this virus is spreading significantly," he said, pointing to Cuyahoga and Hamilton counties specifically for evidence of "disturbing" trends.

Richard Lofgren, MD, is president and CEO of UC Health in Hamilton County. He said the county has seen a "decisive" increase in cases. "We did a great job as Ohioans suppressing the virus through the summer and into the early part of the fall," he said. Now, "cases have nearly been doubling every two weeks and one of the things that's really notable is this spread is diffuse. There is no one particular area. What we used to see was in the highly dense urban core; that's not the case anymore."

Lofgren said we are "social animals" and are "letting our guard down." He said the challenges will continue as we enter the holiday season.
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