The state of Ohio began September with 1,453 new COVID-19 diagnoses — the largest single-day increase in cases since July, when new daily diagnosis totals consistently topped 1,100.
Many of the July cases, Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine said Tuesday, were likely a consequence of Ohioans participating in Fourth of July social gatherings without proper social distancing and mask-wearing protections. He’s concerned the spike will repeat itself after Labor Day.
“We can get together, we can have fun, but we’ve got to be very, very careful,” he said, adding later: “As we gather with families and friends, we must remember that whenever there is more activity, we’re going to see more cases.”
DeWine cautioned his audience with specific examples of gatherings that had led to localized outbreaks over long weekends, including a maskless Lake County birthday party, an extended family card game that allowed participants to carry the virus back to their own households and a Putnam County golf outing that sickened 10 people.
Ohioans should remember that many people who have the virus will not display symptoms but can still transmit a more serious case to a more vulnerable friend or relative, DeWine said.
There’s good news in the state, too, he added, much of it connected to schools — Youngstown high schools going out of their way to enforce masking requirements at athletic events, other school districts rigorously screening students for the virus, others monitoring social media for evidence of unsafe parties.
He encouraged parents and students not to panic when they see positive cases coming out of their schools, but to continue observing all recommended safety guidelines to ensure in-person instruction can continue.