HAMILTON COUNTY, Ohio — Coronavirus cases in Ohio remain above average Monday as Southwestern Ohio continues to see a major uptick in coronavirus cases, with evidence that this increase is driven by community spread and not just an increase in testing.
During Monday's press conference, Gov. Mike DeWine said at the beginning of the month, new cases in Hamilton County were about 30 a day, now they average to 100 a day.
The governor also said, "We’re not liking what we’re seeing in Cuyahoga County either."
DeWine said Hamilton and Montgomery counties are seeing a troubling trend.
"We’re concerned ultimately with human life and protecting people. What we’re seeing in Montgomery, Hamilton County is not good," DeWine said.
On Monday, Hamilton County reported 128 new cases and Montgomery County reported 43 new cases.
DeWine said he was also concerned with the trend in Cuyahoga County, particularly in Cleveland.
On Sunday, Cleveland reported 75 new cases, which is the most that have been recorded in the city in a 24-hour span.
Cuyahoga County Health Commissioner Terry Allen reported 450 new cases from Thursday June 25, through Sunday June 28, a stretch of new COVID-19 cases Allen said was an all-time county record.
Allen said the spike was predominately made up of people in the 20 to 40 age group, and added that he'll be carefully monitoring ICU admissions and hospitalizations in the coming days and weeks, hoping the trend will soon be reversed.
Dr. Keith Armitage, Medical Director at the Roe Green Center for Travel Medicine and Global Health at University Hospitals, told News 5 he understands people have psychological fatigue in dealing with the pandemic and wearing masks, but now is not the time to let your guard down.
“There is concern that this is associated with parties, bars, restaurants,” Dr. Armitage said.
“My message to the people of Cuyahoga County is indoors, without masks, with strangers is a high risk situation. That is the best way the virus gets spread.”
The state of Ohio was above the 21-day average with 737 new cases.
During Monday's news conference, DeWine directly rebuked claims that the increase in cases is due entirely to the increase in testing.
"Some people think, and are wondering, if increased testing is the reason for more cases," DeWine said. "Experts do not think it is entirely that."
DeWine said that the positivity rate, or the percent of COVID-19 cases that come back positive over a given time period, has not decreased as testing has increased, which is what would be expected if increased testing was the only reason cases increase. It has remained between 4% and 6% statewide, even as the number of tests each day has gone up dramatically.
"As we’ve expanded that, as you expand that beyond the group of people that have symptoms, one would assume, one would expect the positivity rate to drop," DeWine said. "That would be the normal thing that you would expect because you're not just testing people who have the symptoms, but also people who have no symptoms at all. That has not happened. It's not going up dramatically, but it certainly has not dropped. It's gone up a little bit, but it certainly has not dropped. And that would indicate that we are seeing an increase in COVID-19, certainly in Ohio."
DeWine added that increases in COVID-related hospitalizations and ICU admissions in parts of Ohio, including Hamilton and Montgomery counties, are further evidence that the increase in new cases is driven at least partly by community spread and not merely increased testing.
Ohio reported 11 new deaths from the virus, bringing their total to 2,818.
On Monday, Cleveland reported 43 new cases, bringing their total to 2,288.
The data in the charts above is updated daily. After 24 hours, it may not reflect the statistics on the date this story was published.
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