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'We don't want that here in Ohio': Health leaders warn of potential fourth COVID-19 wave

In Ohio, the state saw another uptick in COVID-19 cases on Tuesday with the Ohio Department of Health reporting 2,458.

COLUMBUS, Ohio — Health leaders are bracing for another potential wave of COVID-19 cases.

President Joe Biden and a top health official warned Monday that too many Americans are declaring virus victory too quickly, appealing for mask requirements and other restrictions to be maintained or restored to stave off a “fourth surge” of COVID-19. The head of the CDC said she had a feeling of “impending doom” if people keep easing off.

In Ohio, the state saw another uptick in COVID-19 cases on Tuesday with the Ohio Department of Health reporting 2,458. That is 968 more cases than Monday, but below the 2,742 cases Ohio saw on March 26.

Dr. Andrew Thomas, the Chief Clinical Officer at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center, said spikes in COVID-19 cases are due in part to people letting their guard down.

"I think if you look at some states where they have pulled back restrictions with masking and pulled back rules around dining or other things too quickly, you're seeing those case numbers go back up," Thomas said.

Thomas said variants of the virus that causes COVID-19 are also to blame. They are more contagious and emerging in Ohio.

"It takes less virus getting into your nose or mouth for you to get sick, so it just goes from person-to-person more easily," he said.

To prevent another wave, Thomas said Ohioans will have to continue to wear a mask, avoid large crowds, practice good hygiene and social distance. In addition, more people will need to be vaccinated.

"We're seeing half the number of folks over 80 being admitted to [OSU Wexner Medical Center] that we've seen in our best month since September. I can only believe that's vaccinations starting in January that's bearing fruit with fewer people over age 80 being admitted to the hospital," Thomas said. "It's really until we get to that higher percentage of folks being vaccinated that we really can start to put this in the rear-view mirror."

To read current CDC guidance on gathering, click here.