State data released Thursday depicts an increasingly worsening COVID-19 situation in Ohio.
There are “very high levels of exposure and spread” in 18 Ohio counties, up from 11 last week, per the Ohio Public Health Advisory System, based on several inputs like infection rates and hospital visits.
The seven-day moving of average new cases hit its highest level since early August. It has steadily risen for two weeks without pause and shows no signs of slowing down.
On Sept. 24, 586 Ohioans were hospitalized with COVID-19. On Thursday, that figure hit 863.
“Why is it happening? We went through it today — people aren’t being careful,” Gov. Mike DeWine said to reporters Thursday.
New Ohio covid-19 data:
-164,262 cases (1,539 new in last 24 hrs)
-16,200 hospitalized (109 new)
-4,983 dead (13 new reported, varying dates of death)
Highest new case avg. since 8/2.
"This has got to stop, this has just got to stop. These lives are valuable." – Gov. DeWine pic.twitter.com/YfSlV0yXrH
— Jake Zuckerman (@jake_zuckerman) October 8, 2020
DeWine — omitting the specifics on who, where and when — said one particularly nasty outbreak traced back to a crowded wedding and ended with the death of two grandfathers in the family.
“We’re not blaming anybody, but this has got to stop. This has just got to stop,” he said. “These lives are valuable. These lives matter. We can do better than this.”
Risk of complications due to COVID-19 increases with age and for people with underlying conditions like obesity, diabetes, and others, many of which are common in Ohio.
DeWine said cases continue tracing back to gatherings that were once banal — barbeques, family gatherings and similar get-togethers.
Meanwhile, more than 101 inmates and five workers have died in Ohio’s prison system — home to a whopping 6,500 infections.
At least 90 staff members and 120 inmates at Richland Correctional Institution have contracted COVID-19, according to a prisons spokeswoman. Two staff members are hospitalized, along with 23 inmates.
“Yes there’s an outbreak in the prison, but we’re also seeing these small outbreaks all throughout the county,” said Reed Richmond, a health educator with the county health department.
He said he’s noticed people growing bored and a bit lazy after months of the same basic guidance — wear masks, stay home, and socially distance if you leave.
Despite the worsening situation, he said the department still wrestles with “resistance” from positive cases telling contact tracers who they may have passed the virus on to.
“I’m kind of tired of talking about the numbers, I wish people would just do the right thing,” Richmond said.