HAMILTON COUNTY, Ohio — Hamilton County Commissioner Denise Driehaus said the county’s week-to-week increase of COVID-19 cases should be an “alarm bell”
The county saw 4,385 more COVID-19 cases in a one-week period, from Nov. 4 to Nov. 11, Driehaus said during the county’s briefing on Thursday.
“I almost feel like I should drop the mic right now and not say anything else,” Driehaus said. “That is such a dramatic increase from weeks past, it’s like a mic drop moment. It’s astounding, it’s super concerning.”
For perspective, the county reported its first confirmed case of COVID-19 on March 19. About three months later, there were more than 4,000 cases in the entire county. Now, the case count increased by 4,385 in one week.
As of Wednesday, there were 22,103 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the county, 1,392 hospitalizations and 353 deaths.
Hamilton County Commissioner Greg Kesterman said hospitalizations have skyrocketed in the region. There were more than 450 COVID-19 patients in the hospital as of Thursday. There were 25 people in the Intensive Care Unit in early October, now there are 90 people in the ICU, Kesterman said.
“The time to act is now … before our systems become so overwhelmed that people can’t get necessary care,” Kesterman said.
The county’s briefing comes on the heels of Gov. Mike DeWine’s address Wednesday, in which he announced new restrictions on some activities.
DeWine announced he plans to reissue the statewide masking order with three new provisions:
- One requiring all Ohio businesses to post mask-requirement signs at all entrances;
- Another making stores legally responsible for ensuring customers and workers wear masks;
- And a third creating a “retail compliance unit” with the power to shut businesses down for up to 24 hours at a time if they repeatedly violate mask requirements.
He will also place new restrictions on the types of informal gatherings that have led to vaulting spread across the state. Banquets, wedding receptions and post-funeral gatherings must be limited to 10 people or fewer.
All attendees must be seated and masked; activities such as dancing and games will not be allowed.
Bars, restaurants and gyms may also soon face a second state-mandated closure if cases continue to rise, DeWine said. His administration will make a decision on Nov. 19.
Asked what she’d say to businesses that may have to shut down again, Driehaus responded, “I don’t know what to tell them.”
“We’ve said for months, it’s within all of our power to keep all of these open, and if we don’t do our part, it’s unlikely we’ll keep them open. And I think that’s the moment in time we find ourselves. It’s unfortunate,” Driehaus said.
Driehaus added she thinks it’s obvious that DeWine is desperately trying to avoid another shut down.
“ … Whether or not we can avoid that, though, is a whole different question, and I don’t know the answer to that,” Driehaus said.