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State begins to combat 'worrisome' increase of COVID-19 cases in Southwest Ohio

Posted at 2:52 PM, Jun 18, 2020

COLUMBUS, Ohio — During a press conference Thursday, Gov. Mike DeWine addressed a “worrisome trend” in COVID-19 cases across several counties in Southwest Ohio and said the state has begun work on a plan to slow the spread in those areas, a plan the governor said will serve as a guide for other Ohio counties if and when the time comes.

Observing the trends in cases, he noted a rise in COVID-19 cases in Montgomery County, Greene County, Clark County, Warren County and Hamilton County from the end of May into June.

The spike in cases in Clark County was attributed to a hot spot at the Dole Fresh Vegetables plant in Springfield, where at least 200 employees tested positive for the virus.

RELATED: 200 workers test positive at Dole plant in Ohio

In Montgomery County, DeWine noted a dramatic increase in cases and the relative increase of mobility in county residents—a trend that is common in all counties across Ohio with summer weather and the state reopening more sectors.

DeWine also attributed the increase in cases in Montgomery County to workplace outbreaks, including at the Crocs Distribution Center and nursing homes in the county.

DeWine said he and his team are now working with those five counties in Southwest Ohio, holding conference calls with mayors, county officials and health officials.

The governor said that the response will begin with moving in more members of the National Guard to help with testing at different sites as well as working closely with hospitals to conduct even more testing.

“The action that we’ve started to take today, in regards to Southwest Ohio, in particular with those five counties, will be what we do when this occurs in other counties," DeWine said.

DeWine encouraged anybody who wants a test, particularly those who live in a zip code labeled as a "hot spot," to get a test as soon as possible.