Ohio Thursday reported a new record number of COVID-19 cases, with 2,425 in the past 24-hours - surpassing the previous record set Wednesday.
According to the state's color-coded public health advisory map, 39 counties are now red, representing 74% of the state's population. And Ohio Governor Mike DeWine says 94% of the population lives in high incidence counties.
DeWine says three counties - Hamilton, Cuyahoga and Clark - are on the watch list, which means they have ticked six of the seven criteria for the state's highest alert level.
Continuing the trend in recent weeks, DeWine says informal settings seem to be the source of the increase, where people let their guard down and drop their masks and social distancing. Dewine was joined in his coronavirus briefing by Republican Chris Christie. The former New Jersey governor says he had been diligent about wearing a mask for seven months, but dropped his guard during four days at the White House.
Christie spent seven days in hospital isolation. DeWine says hospitalization is a "lagging indicator" often occuring days or even weeks after the diagnosis. He says the surge of cases in recent weeks could lead to a dramatic rise in the number of people hospitalized with COVID-19, decreasing the number of beds for car accidents, heart attack and other illnesses.
DeWine says that three weeks ago, there were 853 COVID-19 patients in Ohio hospitals. Thursday there were 1,293, and the daily number of people hospitalized continues to rise.