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Tri-State families gather for Christmas as Ohio sees COVID surge

Cincinnati Fountain Square ice rink
Posted at 11:25 PM, Dec 24, 2021
and last updated 2021-12-24 23:25:06-05

CINCINNATI — From canceled flights to canceled gatherings, COVID-19 is throwing a wrench in some Christmas plans.

Ohio reported 14,414 new COVID cases and 443 deaths in the last 24 hours. Still, the latest surge is not stopping families from enjoying the holidays — even if that means the celebrations are not fully back to pre-pandemic days.

Dartanyn Dixon and his family enjoyed their Christmas Eve on ice at Fountain Square.

"This year is different because everything is wide open now," Dixon said. "We got this beautiful thing going on downtown."

Downtown Cincinnati showed a different picture from last year as more families enjoyed the day outside their homes.

"[Last year] was more of a stay-at-home Christmas than it usually is in my family. We celebrated in a big way, but it was mostly just us as a family," UC student Keya Nandi said. "It still is that prevalent, but I'm just looking forward to going out more hopefully and celebrating it in a better way compared to last year."

Nandi is right that the virus is still prevalent, with Ohio shattering its daily COVID case record Thursday. Health leaders urged the public to be careful ahead of the holiday, encouraging booster shots.

"With these numbers, we have a troubling picture — one that should be a wake-up call for every Ohioan as we think about our risk of getting sick with COVID-19, especially as we think about gatherings with loved ones for the holidays," said Dr. Bruce Vanderhoff, the state's health director.

Many in town Friday said they still plan to be careful while enjoying the holidays with loved ones — especially with near-record warmth.

"It's going to be nice weather, so we're able to kind of get outside," Eileen Schwab said. "Especially after last year, I think everybody is looking forward to seeing each other and being with family and people you love and being at peace."

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