Gov. Mike DeWine's address on Wednesday night began with a clear statement: Ohio has reached the most critical point in the battle against COVID-19.
In a televised address, the governor said if we do not take immediate action to slow down the virus, what we see in Florida, Texas, Arizona and California will become our reality in a matter of weeks.
Watch Gov. Mike DeWine address Ohioans on Wednesday
"Some have wondered what health orders might be issued tonight. That discussion is for another time," he said. "As your Governor, I’ll take any action necessary to protect Ohio citizens. But orders are not as important as what we all do in the days ahead. The future is in our own hands."
He credited Ohioans rallying together when the virus made its way here and by controlling the spread early on, the state was able to responsibly reopen.
"You made extraordinary sacrifices. You left school. You left work. You stayed home. You missed loved ones, milestones, and paychecks," DeWine said. "But, because you are strong, steadfast, and selfless, you also saved lives. You flattened the curve."
DeWine referenced it took Ohio 20 days to reach a total of 1,500 cases of COVID-19. Last week, the state saw that many in a single day.
"I know some say that our case numbers are increasing because we are simply doing more testing. Yes, our testing has gone up by 87%," he said. "But our number of positive cases has skyrocketed by almost 200%. Clearly, our number of new cases is not just the result of increased testing."
The governor once again asked Ohioans to wear a mask in public saying there is a broad consensus in medical, health and business communities that masks are critical.
"Let’s be honest, some have started to let our guard down. I know I sometimes have. We’re tired. We want to go back to the way things were – and that’s very understandable," DeWine said. "But when our guard is down, we're playing Russian Roulette with our lives."
DeWine closed the address by crediting Ohioans for setting the example for the rest of the country.
"We are Buckeyes. We are strong. And we will not relent as we forge our path forward - united - to build Ohio’s great future together," he said.