The Ohio Department of Health reported 2,039 new cases of COVID-19 on Wednesday, its highest-ever single-day total in eight months of the ongoing pandemic.
Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine had warned the day before that case data was trending in the wrong direction — more diagnoses, older patients and a higher ratio of positive tests to tests performed. Fifty-one of the state’s 88 counties, or about 58%, are considered “high-incidence” by the standards of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
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Most cases don’t come from large, easily traceable events, DeWine added. Health investigators have discovered myriad cases with myriad causes: Small gatherings with friends and family, sporting events, weddings and funerals, among others.
Deaths have not risen at the same rate as diagnoses, but they rarely do. Instead, DeWine said, diagnoses are the first step; deaths arrive later, after periods of illness that last weeks or months. Even patients who recover can become “COVID long-haulers,” people with lasting health complications that persist past the end of their bout with the virus.
The governor cautioned Ohioans to remain cautious during the chilly autumn and winter months, when health experts expect movement into tight-knit indoor spaces to create more opportunities for transmission and sickness.
“What we can say is that things will get better, but in all likelihood, they will get worse before they get better,” he said.
In addition to Wednesday’s 2,039 new cases, ODH also reported 16 new deaths, 151 new hospitalizations and 17 patients who were newly admitted to intensive care.