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DeWine urges flu shots as start of season nears

Pick for health director declines position due to personal reasons

As flu season approaches in the thick of the COVID-19 pandemic, Gov. Mike DeWine is urging “anyone who can get vaccinated” to do so.

The plea came during DeWine’s news conference Thursday, when the governor shared that he and Ohio’s first lady Fran would receive their flu shots from home in Cedarville.

Lt. Gov. Jon Husted also received his flu shot in Columbus.

A new health director was named Thursday, replacing Dr. Amy Acton. However, Dr. Joan Duwve later declined the job, citing personal reasons, according to a tweet sent by DeWine.

NUMBERS

The state saw an increase of 1,121 cases of COVID-19 from Wednesday to Thursday, DeWine said, noting officials are concerned about that increase.

The statewide case and deaths totals increased to 134,086 and 4,354, respectively.

Ohio continues to maintain its Public Health Advisory Alert System, the color-coded way of assessing the degree of the virus’ spread. Within this tiered advisory system of the state’s 88 counties, 68 counties’ status was unchanged from last week, while nine counties dropped a level.

Six counties, with Summit being the closest to the Mahoning Valley, are flagged as “red,” down from seven last week. That’s Level 3, or very high exposure and spread.

There’s been a sustained increase in cases and hospitalizations in these places, DeWine said.

Such outbreaks are associated with a workplace and a fraternal club. Talking about the club, DeWine said two people visited the club while contagious, infecting others.

Two are seriously ill and four have been hospitalized, he said.

“This is just a horrible, horrible situation,” DeWine said, noting that the club would not be disclosed.

Trumbull and Mahoning counties are “yellow” or having active exposure and spread, while Columbiana is “orange” or having increased exposure and spread.

Columbiana County Health District announced three COVID-19-related deaths Thursday, bringing the county’s total to 71.

Mahoning County also had an increase of two deaths, reporting 274 total Thursday.

Trumbull County remained at 126 deaths.

Columbiana County had an increase of 23 cases Thursday, bringing the total to 1,901.

Trumbull County reported 1,796 cases, an increase of 11 from the day before, and Mahoning County increased to 2,923, which is seven cases more than Wednesday.

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