Ohio's coronavirus cases continue to go up, Gov. Mike DeWine reported in his briefing on Tuesday when he equated the pandemic's status as possibly reaching halftime of a football game.
"Today we are reporting 1,447 new cases. In the last seven days, our cases have averaged 1,475 cases per day by report date," he said in his televised briefing and on Twitter. "To put this in perspective, we had been averaging a little over 1,000 cases per day only two weeks ago."
More than 5,000 coronavirus deaths also are reported in Ohio since March.
In all, 51 of Ohio's 88 counties -- including Richland County -- are now high incidence/Alert Level 3 (red), he reported Tuesday.
"This means that if you're in one of these counties, you should be concerned," DeWine added.
He pointed to rising numbers in Athens, Fayette, Putnam, Mercer and Darke counties.
"All of these counties are off the charts when it comes to the CDC's definition of high incidence," DeWine said.
Locally, the Shelby City Health Department has documented a total of 68 individuals who have tested positive for COVID-19 since the outbreak began in March, Mayor Steve Schag said via email on Oct. 12.
"Of that cumulative number, 65 have attained recovered/resolved status," he said. "The department is currently monitoring two active cases which are in home quarantine/isolation. There are currently no hospitalizations. There has been one COVID-19 death documented within the city of Shelby."
The mayor added: "Citizens are urged to observe all COVID-19 protocols and health department guidelines including the washing of hands, sanitization, social distancing and face coverings."
DeWine was asked about possible future shutdowns.
"It's not going to be whether I shut the state down...," he said. "If you can't put students in a classroom, kids will be learning remotely...If the outbreak is bad, people will become nervous about going out and spending money."
Earlier in his briefing, DeWine looked toward the future.
"Things will get better, but in all likelihood, things will get worse before they get better," DeWine said. "This virus is sneaky and cunning and won’t give up. It has a mind of its own."
He praised Ohioans for their sacrifices.
"Because of you, we've avoided a huge spike in cases causing hospitals to overflow," he said. "Ohioans have not been spared, but because of you, we're in better shape than we would have been if you didn't make the sacrifices you have."
"But, it would appear that we could have a tough winter ahead of us," DeWine added. "We are already moving more back inside. Cases are up. Positivity is up. Hospital admissions are up."
He called on Ohioans to continue to wear masks and to avoid large gatherings.
"We can do this. Wear mask when you are in any place where you will see others," DeWine said. "The virus wants us to get complacent because it needs us to spread it."
Also on Tuesday, DeWine announced the deployment of thousands of tests to Ohio's colleges and universities to help them implement a proactive screening plan. "In addition, we plan to aggressively deploy these tests to our nursing homes," he said.
DeWine also is looking toward a coronavirus vaccine.
"We have every indication that the president's “Operation Warp Speed,” which is subsidizing vaccine companies’ clinical trials and manufacturing costs, is working well," DeWine said. "A vaccine is coming, & judging by the indicators, it'll work. But the timing isn't something Ohioans can control."
In other comments, DeWine said that another difficulty of the pandemic is that some parents haven’t been able to take their children to the doctor for well-visits as often as recommended.
"This led to a drop in vaccinations administered to protect against diseases like measles, chicken pox, whooping cough and polio," he said.
"While we are starting to catch up on these numbers, there is still reason to be concerned," DeWine added. "There’s a danger that these diseases could easily spread if children aren’t vaccinated."