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New map shows Ohioans did their part to reduce contacts, traveling during Thanksgiving

Ohio Thanksgiving contacts map
Posted at 3:10 PM, Dec 21, 2020
and last updated 2020-12-21 17:02:00-05

COLUMBUS, Ohio — Gov. Mike DeWine said that Ohioans reduced their contacts during the Thanksgiving holiday, doing their part to mitigate the spread of COVID-19.

“We’re happy with what we saw,” DeWine said.

The governor cited a data map created by the New York Times showing the change in average contacts on Thanksgiving Day this year compared to last year.

Compared to 2019, Ohioans reduced their contacts by 60-70%, DeWine noted.

While some households held traditional Thanksgivings, which resulted in COVID-19 spread, DeWine called those incidents “exceptions” and said for the most part Ohioans did well to limit gatherings.

Northeast Ohio was by far the most successful area of the state in regards to reducing contacts during the holiday.

In spite of that, Dr. Bruce Vanderhoff, the chief medical officer at the Ohio Department of Health, said hospitals throughout the state are still “extremely busy” with COVID-19 patients and said that adding a post-holiday spike would “create a terrible situation not unlike what we’re hearing about in other parts of the country."

“The actions we are taking right now will show up in weeks, after New Year’s,” Vanderhoff said.

With Christmas and New Year’s approaching, Vanderhoff urged Ohioans to continue to limit holiday gatherings the way they did on Thanksgiving.

"Up to and through Thanksgiving, Ohioans took important steps to avoid letting COVID-19 overwhelm our hospitals, but in spite of this, our hospitals remain extremely busy," said Vanderhoff. "Adding a post-holiday spike would create a terrible situation, so we can't let ourselves be lulled into a sense of complacency as we move into the next two-week period, the biggest holiday season on our calendar."

Vanderhoff repeated some of the protocols Ohioans have been asked to follow throughout the remainder of the year:

  1. Stay home as much as possible
  2. Wear masks around others from outside of household
  3. Keep your distance and keep contact short
  4. Wash your hands
  5. Work from home when possible
  6. Keep celebrations safe and small
  7. Don’t eat or drink with people outside your household
  8. Rethink travel plans
  9. Enjoy safe holiday activities

"It’s critical that we keep up the work we started during Thanksgiving for the next several weeks to prevent another surge in January. If we can get through Christmas and New Year’s without a significant surge, we will be much better positioned to start 2021 against this virus," DeWine said.

RELATED: Avoiding a ‘holiday tsunami': DeWine urges to Ohioans to follow Stay Safe Protocols through end of year