LIMA — Allen County and Ohio reported their largest single-day increase in new COVID-19 cases Thursday, prompting Gov. Mike DeWine to call on community leaders across the state to form COVID-19 defense teams as Ohio surpassed 3,000 new cases in 24 hours for the first time since the pandemic began.
“The virus is raging throughout the state, and there is no place to hide,” DeWine said Thursday. “We must face this virus head-on with the tools that we know can beat this virus back: masks, social distancing, washing hands frequently, and good ventilation when inside.”
Allen County saw 85 new cases reported Thursday, while Ohio surpassed its previous single-day case record set on Saturday with 3,590 cases on Thursday.
The situation in Putnam County continues to deteriorate as well: there were 915 new cases per 100,000 people reported in the last two weeks—more than nine times the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and Prevention’s definition for high-incidence counties, or the standard used to identify hotspots based on population size, and by far the highest per capita rate of new cases in Ohio.
That trend is playing out across the region as new cases and hospitalizations are rising quickly and have turned most counties here into hot spots for coronavirus transmission.
Auglaize County, which saw nearly 500 cases per 100,000 people detected in the last two weeks, is now under a Level 3 (Red) Public Health Advisory, during which social gatherings and events of any size are discouraged because the risk of exposure is very high.
Allen, Putnam, Hardin and Mercer counties continue under Level 3 advisories, while Van Wert remains under a Level 2 advisory, although the rate of new cases there has reached 375 per 100,000 people in 14 days—the 15th highest in Ohio.
Only five counties in Ohio are reporting fewer than 100 cases per 100,000 people in a two-week period, the standard for a high-incidence county or hotspot, which led DeWine to call on county commissioners, mayors, religious and business leaders in each county for form COVID-19 defense teams to assess the situation in their community and develop localized mitigation strategies.
“Despite the grim data that we see today, I am confident that we can slow down this invader,” DeWine said on Thursday. “The decisions Ohioans make each day will determine the outcome of this battle. We must mask more, keep distance more, and simply be more careful. We can control our destiny.”