Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine outlined plans Wednesday to reissue the statewide masking order and warned of another possible shutdown as cases of COVID-19 continue to spike across the region.
“We have seen tragedy, great tragedy, associated with some of these events,” DeWine said
New restrictions were put in place on gathering sizes and warnings were issued to bars and restaurants as hospital capacities are being pushed to their limits. DeWine said there is a high-level of spread in every one of Ohio’s 88 counties.
“What you do in your private lives affects everyone,” DeWine said.
Cincinnati Health Commissioner Melba Moore said now is the time for all of us to sacrifice some holiday traditions and try to contain the virus.
“You know, you say, ‘Government telling us what to do,’” Moore said. “Well, okay, let’s be in partnership with this.”
She said the Cincinnati Health Department hasn’t had to shut down any bars or restaurants – and she hopes the governor’s warning will be the wake-up call that people need.
“We don’t want to be punitive,” Moore said. “We just want compliance, accountability.”
Dr. O’Dell Owens leads Interact for Health, which promotes health equity in our region. He said people shouldn’t let their guard down with the promise of a vaccine in sight.
“I understand now people have fatigue, people are tired, but we don’t have a choice,” Owens said. “We can’t give up.”
He said the road to a post-COVID-19 world could be a long one.
“If we do nothing, then millions of people will die. Millions,” Owens said.
DeWine said he will have more information about a possible shutdown of bars, restaurants and fitness centers sometime next week.
“This virus threatens our ability also to keep our grandparents safe in nursing homes, our hospitals functioning, our businesses open and our citizens working,” he said.
Statewide healthcare leaders said people letting their guard down now could cost lives and cripple the economy again.