COLUMBUS (WCMH) — Gov. Mike DeWine provided an update Tuesday on COVID-19 in Ohio, warning residents in his last briefing before Thanksgiving that what happens the rest of the week could have a huge impact on the state in the coming weeks.

As of Nov. 24, a total of 371,908 (+8,604) cases have been reported in Ohio since the pandemic began, leading to 6,118 (+98) deaths and 25,069 (+364) hospitalizations. The number of deaths in the past 24 hours is the second highest, behind 138 reported on April 29.

A notice on the state’s coronavirus dashboard says that data is incomplete with thousands of reports pending review. It is unknown when the backlog from double-checking the results of about 6,000 antigen tests will be cleared.

“If people don’t pull back from the normal Thanksgiving, we could have a disaster in here by the middle of December, leading into Christmas,” DeWine said. “Not only would that be a disaster from a medical point of view, but economically. I’ve said before that the biggest threat to our economy in Ohio and people’s jobs is if this virus flares out of control.”

DeWine said the period between now and the end of the year is “vitally important” to slowing the spread of the virus. He encouraged Ohioans to do two main things: reduce their contacts with people outside their homes and to wear a mask.

But he said he was encouraged by several pieces of news. First was state unemployment being down to 5.6% in October from 8.3%. He also mentioned that mask-wearing compliance at about 90% in retail establishments after recently issuing an order requiring them.

And DeWine said that White House officials reported that the state should receive its first batch of vaccine about Dec. 15. The state has begun distribution plans.

A 21-day statewide curfew, from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m., went into effect last Thursday. Franklin County and Columbus officials began a stay-at-home advisory for 28 days last Friday.

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