CEDARVILLE, Ohio (WDTN) – Ohio Governor Mike DeWine spoke from his home in Cedarville Wednesday to address the recent spike in COVID-19 cases in the Miami Valley, beginning a six-city tour of Ohio to talk about where the state is in its battle against the coronavirus.
DeWine, along with Greene County Coroner Dr. Kevin Sharrett, discussed the rise in cases and again stressed the need for social distancing and wearing masks. DeWine said western Ohio is the hottest area of the state in terms of COVID-19 cases. “Every single county is at least five times the CDC high-incident level,” DeWine said. He continued, “We have no counties in the state, no counties in western Ohio that is not very, very high.”
Dr. Kevin Sharrett said the best way he can describe the situation is, “This virus can be likened to a fire, like a wildfire that’s spreading that’s spreading across our nation.” Sharrett said, in the beginning, he heard from his patients that they knew no one that had the virus or had died from it. Sharrett said that changed in the days and weeks that followed. “This fire is raging around us right now,” Sharrett said. “We cannot extinguish this fire; we do not have the tools available today to extinguish this fire,” and Sharrett said health providers are working to control the spread.
Sharrett also said officials are learning more every day about how to control the spread and fight the virus. Dr. Sharrett urged people to avoid exposure in any way possible. If you do have to go out, Sharrett said, wear a mask. Sharrett pointed out the masks are not “bulletproof” but other than social distancing, it “is the best tool we have available.”
Sharrett continued, saying he believes Ohio is in its “darkest hour” but he believes the virus will eventually be beaten. “The only question I have is how much more destruction there will be between now and then.”
DeWine said in the last two weeks, there are now counties in the Miami Valley that have as many as one in 100 with the virus. DeWine also said Ohio could get a coronavirus vaccine as soon as December. DeWine expected the first shipment of vaccines will consist of 30,000 units and wants to seal off nursing homes first. Healthcare workers will be the next group but DeWine said that could happen simultaneously with nursing home residents. DeWine estimated the general public could receive a vaccine by March or April.
DeWine commented that the curfew announced Tuesday is an attempt to avoid a shutdown and he hopes the effort will bring the number of coronavirus cases down. DeWine also said he did not know what was going to happen after is addressing the Miami Valley from his home in Cedarville Wednesday.