Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine did another “airport chat” with the media, impressing the dire coronavirus situation across the state.
“This fire is burning strong throughout Northwest Ohio,” DeWine said on Wednesday at Eugene F. Kranz Toledo Express Airport. “What we’re now seeing is this virus permeating every part of the state.”
All Ohio counties have a high incidence of cases.
“What we’re seeing in Northwest Ohio is every single county is at least five times as high as what the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) says is a high-incident level,” DeWine said. “We’ve never seen anything like this.”
The Toledo airport stop was the second of the day and one of six planned for DeWine across Ohio. DeWine also stopped at the Toledo airport last month for a media talk.
Area residents in the spring and summer may not have known anyone with COVID-19, DeWine said.
“Today you cannot escape it,” he said. “Our small rural counties are hotter than our urban counties.”
Widespread, community spread keeps children out of in-person classes, threatens nursing homes and hinders hospital operations, DeWine said.
A statewide, 10 p.m.-5 a.m. curfew started Thursday.
“We hope that will help. We believe it will help,” he said.
Everyone is also asked to “pull back a little bit” on personal contacts with others. More important than the curfew is what people do in their individual lives, DeWine said.
The curfew is common sense, he said. No one will be cited for walking the dog at 11 p.m., he said.
“It’s a timeout, it’s an opportunity for us to pull back for seven hours in a 24-hour day to try to break this,” DeWine said, adding that he understands the concerns about personal rights. “For those who are critical of this, I understand. But we have to do some things in Ohio.
“Lives are at stake.”
Go back to basics, DeWine said, including wearing a mask and keeping social distance.
“Do some of the things we did in the spring,” he said.
That could be going to the grocery store once a week, ordering carryout from a restaurant instead of dining inside and
“These are all things that we can do in this time of crisis,” DeWine said.
There is light ahead, the governor said, in the form of a vaccine.
“There are two pharmaceutical companies telling us they are almost ready to roll,” he said. “We expect to start getting the vaccine in December.”
It will first go to nursing home residents and workers, then medical teams.
Dr. Brian Kaminski, medical director of ProMedica, was alongside DeWine. He sees coronavirus patients everyday and talked about how the coronavirus affects everyone differently and mysteriously.
A group that will become more prominent as time goes on is the “longhaulers,” Kaminski said. They get the illness, survive, but go on to have significant health problems.
“We don’t know the longterm effects of COVID, but what we’re seeing is people who contracted this illness — even in the spring — and are still having symptoms.”
Cases in the area are trending upward at an alarming rate, Kaminski said.
The rate of hospitalized patients in the last three weeks has tripled, he said.
The coronavirus is spreading more rapidly because of the drop in humidity as winter approaches, he said.
“We fear that we’re at the beginning of some of our darkest days yet,” Kaminski said.
How bad it gets is up to the public and the measures that it takes, he said.
“More than ever we need our community to come together, to take actions, to do those things that we know reduce transmission.”
Wash hands, watch distance and wear a mask, Kaminski said.
“The science is out there. It’s a minor inconvenience but it actually saves lives.”
He said it would be mid to late summer before the population was vaccinated.
“We really need to buckle down now more than ever,” Kaminiski said.
Think about Thanksgiving, he said.
“Reconsider spending time with people outside of your own household. We know that takes a huge emotional toll and we’d never ask it, if we didn’t think it was going to save lives,” he said.
Area hospitals have “surge plans” in place to cross train staff, share data and increase capacity.
Kaminiski also said that people with health problems or emergencies should not be afraid to go to the hospital or doctor for care.