Coronavirus Update: Third Wave, New COVID Orders & More
Keep up with regular news updates regarding Columbus and Ohio’s response to COVID-19 here.
COVID-19 cases — As of Wednesday, Nov. 11, 29,760 cases and 489 deaths from COVID-19 have been reported or are probable in Columbus and Worthington. Countywide, 41,276 cases and 669 deaths from COVID-19 have been reported by Columbus Public Health and Franklin County Public Health.
Statewide, 267,356 cases and 5,623 have been confirmed or are probable, up from 226,138 cases and 5,373 deaths last week, as reported by the Ohio Department of Health. 191,950 Ohioans are presumed recovered.
Records Keep Breaking — On Tuesday, Nov. 10, Ohio broke a record number of cases reported in a single day — a total of 6,508 new positive coronavirus cases in Ohio, which broke a record set just days before.
In a Wednesday evening address to Ohioans, Governor Mike DeWine addressed the critical stage the state is at, and how some have attributed the rise in cases to a rise in testing.
“While testing has not even doubled, cases have gone up almost four times,” he said.
He also noted that hospitalizations were also seeing record highs: During the second wave of cases that took place over the summer, the state saw as many as 1,100 hospitalizations at one time, he said. On Wednesday that number was approaching 3,000.
“While we are better prepared with personal protective equipment and physical capacity, what we are seeing now is an increasing demand on our staffing,” said incoming Ohio Department of Health Chief Medical Officer Dr. Bruce Vanderhoff in a statement this week. “If we don’t control the spread of this virus, we won’t be able to care for those who are acutely ill without postponing important, but less urgent, care. We anticipate that this kind of shift could happen in a matter of weeks if trends don’t change.”
A similar pattern in cases is being seen in Franklin County, as the single-day record for newly reported cases was broken on Saturday, Nov. 7, with 476 new positive coronavirus cases reported.
DeWine Reissues Mask Order — In response to the increase in cases, the governor said he would be reissuing the state’s mask order with three new provisions. Businesses will be required to post face covering requirement signage on all public entrances to the establishment. Stores will be responsible for ensuring customers and employees are wearing face coverings.
Inspections lead by the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation will begin to ensure compliance with the order, with a first violation of the order bringing about a written warning and a second violation bringing about closure of a store for up to 24 hours.
New Mass Gathering Order — In his address, Gov. DeWine also asked Ohioans not to attend or host mass gatherings. Accompanying the request was a new mass gathering order to include additional restrictions to an order originally issued in April.
The order will prohibit mass gatherings in open congregate areas, require mask wearing outside of actively eating and drinking, and require patrons to be seated, and prohibit “dancing and games.”
Details and exemptions to the order are expected and will be announced once an order is released in the next few days.
City Extends Outdoor Dining Program — The City of Columbus’ outdoor seating pilot program for restaurants and bars, first announced in August, has been extended through November.
A “lifeline” for restaurants and bars during the pandemic, the program allows establishments to use right-of-way for temporary outdoor on-street dining areas or expand seating into their parking lots. 23 restaurants and bars are currently a part of the program.
Learning Extension Centers — The City of Columbus and college access organization I Know I Can, Columbus City Schools, as well as nonprofit and faith-based organizations, will partner to create Learning Extension Centers around the community. Through the extension centers, K-12 students can come to access reliable internet, academic assistance, meals, programs and services that would have been available to them in a traditional school setting.
A contract with I Know I Can will be funded by the city’s portion of the federal CARES Act. Funding will go toward staffing, volunteer training, programming, supplies, food, and more.
An interactive map of Learning Extension Centers is available here.
For more information on COVID-19 in Ohio, visit coronavirus.ohio.gov or call 1-833-4-ASK-ODH.