SPRINGFIELD, Ohio (WDTN) — Governor Mike DeWine talked with leaders in Clark County after his briefing Tuesday. Now, those leaders warn that changes may happen if residents don’t heed their warnings and start following CDC guidelines.
“If we go purple on Thursday, I’m going to be the grinch who stole Halloween,” said CCHD Health Commissioner Charles Patterson.
In Springfield, the Clark County Combined Health District reported 39 deaths related to COVID-19 in October plus an additional 111 new positive cases this past weekend. Officials say social gatherings seem to be one cause of major spread throughout the community.
“Unfortunately at those times, they’re not socially distancing and not wearing masks,” said Patterson. “We know one wedding, the father of the bride is no longer with us after the exposure that happened at the wedding.”
Clark County has been placed on a watch list as it nears the purple or a “Level 4 Public Emergency.” In addition to large gatherings, the health department estimates 40% of cases are related to nursing homes. The increase in cases is starting to strain their own medical resources.
“We’ve never seen our hospital with as many people hospitalized, as many folks in the ICU, as many people with COVID on ventilators. We’ve never seen this many cases within a week,” said Patterson.
However, leaders have not lost hope. They’re encouraging residents to find strength in one another, wear face coverings and keep the mortality of others in mind instead of going out to events.
“Everybody is tired. I’m tired, my staff is tired, the public is tired. This is not the time to let down our guard, this is not a time to be too tired to do this,” said Patterson. “We have to reach down and find the energy, come together as a community and fight this enemy.”
The health department said a decision will be made on Thursday if Clark County moves to a “Level 4 Public Emergency.”