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Will Ohio face closures again if coronavirus cases spike? Here’s what DeWine is saying

'We certainly are looking at that, but we hope not to face that choice.'
Ohio Governor Mike DeWine gives an update at MetroHealth Medical Center on the state's preparedness and education efforts to limit the potential spread of COVID-19, Thursday, Feb. 27, 2020 (AP Photo/Tony Dejak)

As some states across the country are experiencing a surge in COVID-19 infections, the speed of the reopening process is now being called into question.

So what would happen if Ohio sees an increase in new coronavirus cases? Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine was asked if he would pause the reopening process or reinstate some closures.

“We certainly are looking at that, but we hope not to face that choice,” he said during his COVID-19 press conference Tuesday afternoon. “But we have to always prepare for the worst, and so we are looking at that. Not really ready to share that yet because we haven’t quite worked it out. I think a lot of this is going to come down to trying to get information to Ohioans that is local information.”

DeWine said the state’s strategy is to focus on data at the local level and concentrate on any potential problem spots.

“We’re going to continue to try to refine it so that it gets down to not just the region, but we can take that data down to the county and sometimes down even maybe to the zip code. As we look towards the future, what we’re going to be looking for in Ohio is the areas where there are a problem. We’re going to try to look at those areas and deal with those areas and work with local officials. These are decisions that are going to have to get made in conjunction with the state and the local community.”

DeWine said the goal is to keep everything going in the current direction. He said the key to this success is making sure Ohioans follow safety measures like wearing a mask, keeping safe distances and proper hand washing.

“We hope we don’t have to close anything, but what we clearly owe to the people of the state of Ohio – what I owe to the people of the state of Ohio – is giving them the best information we can so if you are in a county and there are things going on in that county where this COVID is spiking up, you know that and you know all the data connected with that and you know if that is something you should take very, very seriously and take action.”

We will have, for example, within the next 10 days guidelines for schools. Each school is going to be different. Just like in a typical winter where you might have the flu that hits a school district or part of a school district. A certain elementary school because of flu might have to close down, that is a local decision. Getting that data to local officials, to local communities, is part of what we have an obligation to do."