Opinion

Ohioans must play role in keeping economy open

Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine vows he won’t shut down the state’s economy to stop the spread of the novel coronavirus, but Ohioans must do their part to help reduce the number of cases.

If COVID-19 cases continue to rise, thoughts of another stay-at-home order have to weigh on his mind. DeWine spoke to a group of reporters Oct. 19 who gathered in an airplane terminal at Burke Lakefront Airport in Cleveland.

He told the media that the state doesn’t have to shut down the economy down.

The economy can continue, but people must follow safety protocols during this pandemic.

DeWine said it’s not that people have to dramatically change what they’re doing, but they have to change how they do things. Ohioans have to set what their priorities are, he said, such as keeping jobs, expanding jobs and keeping youngsters in school.

If enough people wear masks, this can help reduce the spread of the virus. DeWine said the spread of the coronavirus is not so much in workplaces or in classrooms, but it’s when people are doing more casual things including getting together with friends and family.

He believes it’s human nature in informal settings when people are letting their guard down that COVID-19 is spreading. On Mondays, the governor speaks with county health departments and he’s learning they are saying pretty much the same thing.

In recent days, DeWine has been making stops across the state as Ohio has seen a spike of new cases in recent weeks. In about two and a half weeks, the state has doubled the number of cases from 1,000 cases per day to 2,000.

At the same time, the positivity rate in Ohio almost doubled. It was down to about 2.5 percent.

But now, it’s pushing on a daily average of close to five percent. This trend can’t continue. Ohioans must heed the advice of DeWine and the health and medical experts.

There are 38 counties at Level 3 red alert, which means that 74 percent of Ohioans are living in a red county. Northeast Ohio counties in that category are Cuyahoga, Geauga, Lake and Lorain. There is very high exposure and spread in these counties and people should limit activities as much as possible, especially with in-person interactions with others.

Early on in this pandemic, DeWine ordered social distancing, and later for people to wear masks or face coverings and to practice methods such as frequent hand washing and using sanitizer to help stop the spread.

Once again, DeWine again is urging people to wear masks when close to other people. When people wear masks or face coverings, they provide a great ability to cut down on the spread.

The next three months in Ohio are crucial. The people will control what the next three months will look like.

But, it’s not going to be easy.

Fall is here, winter is nearing and people are not going to be outside as much. One of the things that should cause people concern is that unlike the summer, when the cases mostly among young people rose, now the spread is impacting older people.

Another difference between now and summer is that hospitalizations are rising at a faster rate. DeWine assumes that is occurring because it’s with older Ohioans. 

He also urged people to cooperate with contact tracers. 

DeWine credits health departments across the state and said they are doing a really good job, but they need help. When a health department contacts people, DeWine wants them to help the officials to shut off this virus. Unfortunately, sometimes health departments have seen some resistance from people contacted by the tracers. There are parents who are concerned that their child is going to be out of school or their child is not going to be able to play sports.

As a parent and a grandparent, DeWine said he understands that. But cooperation is very important and most people are conforming.

As of 2 p.m., Oct. 22, Ohio has 190,430 total COVID-19 cases and 5,161 total deaths, according to the Ohio Department of Health. The state also has seen 17,682 total COVID-19 hospitalizations, according to state health department. Of the total cases, the state presumes that 151,037 people have recovered.

The state health department defines presumed recovery as cases with a symptom onset date greater than 21 days who are not deceased.

DeWine says the state can still fight this, but Ohio must step up big time to the plate and help. But if this trend continues with COVID-19 cases breaking records on a daily bases, something will have to give.

Remember, DeWine has the ability to shut down the economy just as he did in March.

If people would just follow safety measures to stop the spread of the virus, closing Ohio, again, likely won’t happen.

– THE WILLOUGHBY NEWS-HERALD

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