COLUMBUS (WCMH) — The Ohio Department of Health has released the latest number of COVID-19 cases in the state. 

As of Friday, Oct. 16, a total of 177,991 (+2,148) cases have been reported in Ohio since the pandemic began, leading to 5,054 (+16) deaths and 16,910 (+86) hospitalizations. There are a presumed 148,284 recovered cases in the state. 

The number of new cases Thursday represented a high for the state.

Franklin County returned to a level 3, or red, on the state’s public health advisory map. Licking and Madison counties also are at level 3, with Delaware, Fairfield and Pickaway counties at level 2, or orange. All six counties showing a high rate of spread as defined by the CDC.

The spread of the virus seems to be increasing as the cold-weather months begin. DeWine said that 52 counties are showing a high incidence of spread, meaning more than 100 cases per 100,000 residents over a two-week period.

DeWine said 29 of 88 Ohio counties are at level 3, covering 65% of the state’s population.

“There’s a red tide flowing all over the state of Ohio,” DeWine said. “Virtually everybody in Ohio is living in a high incident, high rate of spread area. … It can be reversed. It’s totally in our hands to do it.”

Franklin County had been at level 2 since Aug. 20.

DeWine said that he is hearing from state health commissioners that one issue may be fewer people wearing masks. Although mask-wearing has been good at schools, it has been less so at social and family gatherings.

He continued to emphasize mask-wearing and social-distancing as the main things that Ohioans can do to limit the spread of the virus.

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