CUYAHOGA COUNTY, OH — When the outbreak began, Ohio served as a model response to the pandemic even before there were cases in the state. Health officials say that’s why Ohio’s numbers are going down, while other states go up.
“These numbers are pretty flat and that has been the situation for really well over a month now,” said Gov. Mike DeWine during Tuesday’s press conference.
Updated data from the governor's team show the spread of COVID-19 is slowing drastically compared to march. DeWine says the "r naught", or the number of people on average an infected person will spread the disease to, s dropping. Here in Northeast Ohio, it's less than one person per case.
“For every one person infected with coronavirus they were spreading to almost two people. In our most recent calculations, we see that the R0 is about .87 for the entire state,” he said.
But some are asking how, as more and more people gather outside at bars, restaurants, and even protests? Summit County Public Health Commissioner, Donna Skoda, says extreme social distancing, business shutdowns, and more testing has helped. Though, the state is still behind on its goal of conducting 22,000 tests per day.
“I think Ohio and have taken it seriously and have done a really good job of doing everything they can,” Skoda said. “Right now, the cases we are seeing are with fewer hospitalizations which tells me that there’s a milder disease circulating and or a lot of people have already had it.”
While COVID19 cases remain relatively low, the fear of a second wave in new cases remains high. According to Doctor Amy Edwards, Pediatrics Infectious Disease Specialist with University Hospitals, community spread is still an issue. She says a second wave in Ohio could appear as early as October at the same time cold and flu season is picking up, but it’ll once again be up to Ohioans to help stop the spread and save lives.
“We are preparing for a larger wave than what we saw with this first wave,” said Edwards.
Edwards says her main concern is more people becoming complacent following safety precautions while out in public.
“I think Ohio numbers are going to hold steady that’s dependent on us not having any outbreaks linked to being stupid. Not calling anybody stupid but wear your mask,” she said. “It really does appear to work even more than we originally said.”