‘There’s no place to hide’
Governor says state must get back to fundamentals
Trumbull County joined Mahoning County at the red level in the Ohio Public Health Advisory System, and also became a high incidence county, by the standards set by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, on a day when the state broke yet another record for new COVID-19 cases.
New cases in the state crested 3,000 for the first time Thursday, hitting 3,590 new cases — 25 percent higher than the second highest day earlier this month.
“This is by far the highest number of cases we have ever seen during the entire pandemic. In fact, it’s about 700 cases more than our previous high, just a few days ago,” Gov. Mike DeWine said during his Thursday briefing.
And, 83 of 88 counties are labeled high incidence counties, DeWine said, comparing the virus to an invasion.
“The virus is raging throughout the state of Ohio. There’s no place to hide. Now we only have two counties that are yellow, and they represent only one-fifth of 1 percent of our state’s total population. Every county is red or orange,” DeWine said.
More mask wearing, distance keeping, better ventilation inside and hand washing are essential, he said.
“We have to get back to the fundamentals, we have to get back to the basics,” DeWine said.
He called on leadership in each county to “come together and create a COVID defense team.”
The teams will help “fight” the virus, and include county commissioners, mayors, local hospital leaders, and business and religious leaders, he said. And, the teams should be “representative of the community.”
He will ask the teams to assess the situation in their community, inventory the assets in the community and discuss what steps could help turn the uptick in cases around.
The teams will be asked to communicate with the community and offer them steps to take to slow the advance of the virus.
The spread is affecting all types of counties — small, big, rural and urban, DeWine said.
Trumbull County has had 232 cases over the past two weeks, and has 117.19 cases per 100,000 people, high enough to classify it as a high incidence count by Centers for Disease Control and Prevention standards, according to Ohio Department of Health data.
Two new deaths were reported Thursday in Trumbull County.
The county went into the red because of that indicator, and because there was a five-day streak of new case increases in the county in a three-week period, because 94 percent of cases are not in congregate settings like nursing homes, and because there was a sustained stretch of days with increased visits to health care providers for COVID-related symptoms in people who were confirmed to have COVID-19. The county did not meet other warning indicators of sustained increases of hospital admissions, emergency room visits and intensive care unit bed occupancy.
“Over the past 30 days, data that we have collected indicates that our transition from”orange” to “red” is a result of a significant increased community transmission,” a news release from the Trumbull County Combined Health District states. te family gatherings.”
Mahoning County remains a high incidence, red county. It met the same indicators as Trumbull County, but the rate of cases per 100,000 people is higher, at 139.06. There have been 318 cases there over the last two weeks.
“Given this sizable increase we are experiencing, it is more important now than ever that we follow the state orders of masking, social distancing, hand hygiene and environmental cleanliness. Moreover, we need to seriously think about curtailing our attendance at mass gatherings, or the need to hold them, where the risk of transmission is elevated and where others may be put at risk,” the Trumbull County Combined Health District release states.
Columbiana County remains at the orange level, but is now a high incidence county, with a rate of 116.80 cases per 100,000 people. There have been 119 cases there over the past two weeks. Indicators for outpatient visits and the percentage of cases not in a congregate setting — 100 percent — were met.
Dr. Rick Lofgren, president and CEO of University of Cincinnati’s Affiliated Healthcare System, said cases and hospitalizations are increasing and though the state did well suppressing the virus earlier this year, it has been escalating over the last few weeks.
And, unlike in prior increases, the spread is “diffuse,” in all types of communities and happening in many types of places.
“We know what keeps this virus at bay. It’s there, if you let your guard down, it spreads,” Lofgren said.
The vast majority of spread is happening at private social events, he said.
“I think we are simply letting our guard down. We all have COVID fatigue, but we know what works,” Lofgren said.
He encouraged people to stop increasing their social “bubbles” and to follow mask and distance protocols.
It will be a challenge around the holidays, but celebrations have to change to lower the risk of spread, Lofgren said.
On Sunday, Warren City Schools officials closed Lincoln PK-8 grade school through Nov. 6 because of a reported case of COVID-19 in the building.
The Ohio Department of Health on Thursday reported three new staff cases of COVID-19 in Warren City School District the week of Oct. 19 to 25. The state releases information of cases i schools every Thursday afternoon.
Trumbull County had a total of nine new cases of COVID-19 among staff members in public and private schools during this period. LaBrae, Lakeview, Lordstown, Trumbull County Board of Developmental Disabilities, Trumbull County ESC and Victory Christian each had one new case of a staff member identified with the virus.
Three new cases of students with the virus were reported Thursday. Lakeview, Newton Falls Exempted Village and Niles each have one student newly identified with the virus.
There were four students and three staff members newly identified with the virus in Mahoning County, according to the Ohio Department of Health report.
Boardman, Potential Development School for Autism, South Range and Valley Christian School each had one new student identified with the virus. Sebring, Valley Christian School and West Branch each had one staff member identified with the virus.
COVID-19 by the numbers
The number of cases, changes in cases and deaths in counties in the region and statewide as of Thursday:
County Cases Change since Change since Deaths
yesterday last week
Trumbull 2,451 +37 +181 136
Mahoning 3,960 +50 +251 287
Columbiana 2,227 +23 +99 88
Ohio 208,937 +3,590 +18,507 5,275
SOURCE: Ohio Department of Health