DeWine says increased COVID-19 metric in Dayton region is not yet cause for alarm


DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) – Governor Mike DeWine said Thursday that health experts are “keeping an eye” on the Dayton region, as one metric used to track COVID-19 data shows an increase in the area.

The R0, pronounced as R naught, is a metric used to describe the number of people who could contract a disease from a contagious person. If R0 is 1, this indicates that one contagious person can typically infect one new person if no intervention is taken. If R0 is greater than 1, each contagious person could cause an infection in more than one new person.

With COVID-19, the R0 is estimated at 2.5, according to the CDC, meaning anyone with the virus would give it to between two and three people if no intervention was taken such as washing hands, wearing masks, social distancing, and other prevention efforts.

In Ohio, this number was as high as 1.9 in March and a little lower than 1 on June 1, according to the most recent calculation from the state. Governor DeWine said in his Thursday news conference that officials have seen a slight increase in R0 measurements from the last few days of May and first few days of June.

As they worked to monitor the spread of the virus, state officials split the state of Ohio into eight regions. Several of these regions, including the Dayton area, have seen a slight increase in the R0 measurement.

“The slight increase we’re seeing in several parts of the state is certainly visible here and our health department is keeping an eye on the Dayton region,” Governor DeWine said.

He says at least once a week, the state will release an update on those numbers and stressed that their data is typically ten days behind the current situation.

“Even the Dayton numbers, I don’t think is yet room for alarm, but that’s what the numbers are,” he said.

Miami Valley Hospital assoc. chief medical officer Dr. Roberto Colon said it’s important to follow these numbers because the Miami Valley has reduced the R0 number over time.

“Down to a level that we actually believe may be starting to get below one, which is when we start getting into that extinguishing phase of a disease outbreak,” Dr. Colon said.

Colon said the best way to keep that number going down is by following prevention guidelines.

“Using the face coverings, masks, and keeping our social distancing,” Dr. Colon said. “I think it is imperative that we do everything we can to try to reduce the chance of transmission.”

DeWine spoke with health officials from the Cincinnati area, who said they saw an uptick that they believe coincided with Mother’s Day.

“They saw an uptick for three days and then they saw it go back down to that base line,” said DeWine.

Dr. Amy Acton noted that there are roughly 30 other indicators that health experts are using to track COVID-19 data. DeWine announced Thursday that Dr. Acton is stepping down from her position as the Ohio Department of Health Director but has been asked to stay on as his Chief Health Advisor.

The Governor also made a point of saying that the daily hospitalization and ICU numbers that are released remain fairly flat.

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