DeWine: Parties, charity events lead to COVID-19 spread

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COLUMBUS (WCMH) – Based off information provided to the Ohio governor’s office by local health departments, the spread of COVID-19 can be traced to large gatherings including parties and charity events.

Gov. Mike DeWine said he asked the state’s health departments to give him stories of how the coronavirus is spreading.

“We are asking our health departments to give us stories to really explain how people get infected,” DeWine said during his Tuesday statehouse briefing. “I’ve always found that stories are instructive.”

The governor said people who are around family and friends may not feel as concerned to wear a mask or keep their social distance.

“What we’ve seen is a lot of casual events in our lives where people are not careful, they don’t wear a mask, they don’t social distance can lead to a lot of outbreak,” DeWine said.

The stories that DeWine relayed include:

  • A 40-minute ride of four people – parents, their daughter, and a family friend — to a lake on the 4th of July. The family friend had the virus but was asymptomatic. The father contracted the virus and ended up in intensive care. His business had to close, and two of his employees tested positive for the virus. The daughter also got ill with mild symptoms but had to delay being hired for her first job because she needs to show two negative tests to move forward in the hiring process. Two caregivers taking care of the woman’s mother tested positive for COVID-19, one of whom was also admitted to the ICU. One of those caregivers spread the virus to another person she cared for.  The family friend’s business had to close while other employees were tested, none of whom showed signs of the virus because they wore masks. The family friend’s husband also tested positive for the virus, and his business had to close in order for the employees to quarantine. In total, 10 people got sick with two ending up in the ICU. “The reach of COVID-19 did not stop with that immediate family,” DeWine said.
  • A woman went to get tested for COVID-19, but while waiting for her results, decided to host her 50th birthday party with about 20 guests. She ended up testing positive. Two of the guests operate a home daycare center. One of them tested positive and the daycare center had to temporarily close. A third guest who works at a foster care group home also tested positive. Nine employees and six residents at the group home all tested positive for the virus, with one of the teenage residents being hospitalized.
  • A charitable fundraiser in July with between 100 and 200 people. The poker run with dinner afterward has had, to date, 46 positive cases reported, 31 of whom attended the fundraiser, 11 those people gave the virus to, and four cases still being investigated.

“We don’t bring these up to shame anybody or to say they did something bad,” DeWine said. “We simply are trying to show what we’re seeing and share with you what we see every day. That’s stories of average Ohioans who, because they’re not as cautious as they should be or they might be, we end up with a very, very significant spread.”

Coronavirus in Ohio resources:

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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