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In a new and urgent warning about the new coronavirus, a medical director for the Cincinnati region’s response to the pandemic said Friday that non-essential operations could probably be stopped again if control efforts do not prove successful within two weeks.
Hospitals now have 90% capacity with increasing case loads, “and if the number doubles, we will have to stop performing optional procedures,” said Dr. Peter Margolis of the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine, who leads the team that calculates daily. regional reports on the state of the pandemic.
In addition, the Cincinnati area lags behind other cities of the same size in its control of the virus. Right now, Hamilton County has hit 16 cases for every 100,000 residents. Still, Pittsburgh is at 7.5 cases for every 100,000, Cleveland is at 7 cases, and Austin, Texas is at 6.8. Margolis said the Cincinnati area should have fewer than five cases for every 100,000.
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Elsewhere, Margolis said, there have been clear, consistent, repeated public health messages about the need for everyone to wear masks, wash their hands thoroughly, maintain a foot’s social distance from others, and avoid large gatherings.
Margolis spoke with Dr. Richard Lofgren, CEO of UC Health, at a Zoom conference with local journalists on the pandemic. Hamilton County’s infection rates have risen sharply in the last 10 days, Lofgren said, mainly because people are tired of the social controls needed to stop the spread.
The county was placed in the “red” level on the state’s heat map of coronavirus infections on Thursday. Butler and Warren counties are also now at the red level.
“Unlike the peaks we have before, there is no group, no particular event or activity that causes this,” he said. “It suggests that we as a society are beginning to fail our guard.”
On Thursday, Ohio hit a record number of coronavirus cases. On Monday, the state reported 5,000 deaths from COVID-19, the disease caused by infection from the new coronavirus.
While Lofgren said he did not think the region or state needed to close as close as in the spring when the virus first arrived in Ohio, individuals and families should consider the virus, especially when the calendar rolls through holidays at the end of Year and people are starting to get the flu.
“We should not even have to go into the issue of locking again,” Lofgren said. “This has many negative health consequences. That’s why we’re all really so forced to make sure people understand that we just can ‘t let our guard down no matter how tired we are.
Government Mike DeWine is scheduled to visit Cincinnati Friday afternoon to highlight concerns about the growing number of coronavirus cases.
Cincinnati.com will update this story.
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