Here are the latest details on how the COVID-19 pandemic is impacting the area:
• Governor DeWine on Tuesday cautioned that the continuing increase in COVID-19 cases indicates that significant numbers of infections are likely this winter unless citizens take steps to mitigate and control the spread of the virus.
“Although a vaccine is on the way in the future, we can’t control the timetable of the development of a vaccine – but we can control how much this flares up until then,” said DeWine. “We have avoided the large outbreaks that other countries and other states have seen, and, so far, the combined efforts of Ohioans have kept the virus in check. We can’t let our guards down now. We need to continue taking basic safety measures of wearing masks, keeping distance, and avoiding large gatherings.”
In the last seven days, Ohio COVID-19 cases have averaged 1,475 cases per day by report date as compared to an average of approximately 1,000 cases per day two weeks ago. Ohio’s current positivity rate is 4.1 percent, as compared to 2.7 percent on Sept. 23 and 24.
• Fulton County added 38 news cases over Monday and Tuesday. The Fulton County Health Department reported 26 new cases on Monday and 12 new cases on Tuesday. There are no updates from the county on weekends.
The total number of cases in the county is now up to 422.
The number of hospitalizations in Fulton County has increased from 28 to 34 in the last week. There have been three deaths in the county due to COVID-19.
Among the cases through Tuesday there were 266 females and 156 males. The median age for confirmed cases is now 51.
Lucas County had 7,643 cases and 367 deaths as of Tuesday. Defiance County had 416 cases and 13 deaths, Williams County 275 cases and three deaths, and Henry County 412 cases and 17 deaths.
There have been 171,626 cases overall in Ohio. Statewide, there had been 16,565 hospitalizations and 3,447 intensive care unit admissions related to the disease.
The age range of cases in Ohio is less than one year to 109 years old. The median age is 40.
There are 4,709 confirmed deaths statewide, with 308 more probable COVID-19 deaths.
• Governor DeWine also announced Tuesday the creation of a new Lab Capacity Dashboard to help pharmacists, nursing homes, colleges and universities, employers, and others administering COVID-19 tests find a lab to run their samples. This new resource will help connect groups that are testing with available labs in order to ease turnaround times and inform Ohioans of their COVID-19 status.
The new dashboard provides self-reported information about labs that can run tests, including hours of operation, types of tests they accept, estimated turn-around time, and locations. Labs with available capacity can sign up on the website to be included in this dashboard.
• DeWine also discussed plans for Abbott BinaxNOW COVID-19 antigen screening tests that the federal government is providing to Ohio.
This week, Ohio is deploying thousands of these screening tests to colleges and universities to help them implement proactive screening plans. Next week, Ohio will begin sending tens of thousands of screening tests to nursing homes for both routine and outbreak testing requirements.
Governor DeWine emphasized that lab-based PCR tests are still considered the “gold standard” test that provides the most accurate results, and antigen tests can have false positives and false negatives.
“The opportunity to test more broadly and more often make this an important step forward in our fight against COVID-19 spread, even with the lower sensitivity and specificity of these tests,” said DeWine. “We do have protocols to follow up on results that are most likely to be false, but we need to be aware that this is part of testing at this scale.”
DeWine also cautioned that testing should not be considered a substitute for precautions such as wearing masks, social distancing, and avoiding large gatherings.
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