Coronavirus spikes saw October become key month in Butler County battle: What to know

According to the Ohio Department of Health Butler County ranks 5th in Ohio in total number of those under 18 years to have tested positive for the coronavirus since the onset of the virus in March. Given Butler County's population size, say local health officials, the ranking isn't surprising. (Provided Photo\Journal-News)
According to the Ohio Department of Health Butler County ranks 5th in Ohio in total number of those under 18 years to have tested positive for the coronavirus since the onset of the virus in March. Given Butler County's population size, say local health officials, the ranking isn't surprising. (Provided Photo\Journal-News)

October may turn out to be a pivotal month in Butler County and Ohio’s ongoing battle against the spread of coronavirus.

The number of positive tests and hospitalizations climbed steadily through the month and in October’s final days registered record-breaking tallies that brought warnings from Ohio’s governor and local health officials.

“The virus is raging throughout the state and there is nowhere to hide,” said Gov. Mike DeWine.

ExploreButler County stays Level 3 as state smashes daily coronavirus record

Butler County Health Commissioner Jennifer Bailer echoed DeWine, saying on Friday that “October has been a hard COVID month for the county.”

“Cases are up, hospitalizations are up. We aren’t yet sure if deaths will also be up, but it stands to reason that they will also have risen,” Bailer said.

Cases in Butler County rose 46% from Oct. 1 to Thursday, or 6,420 to 9,377. There have been 133 deaths in the county.

From Monday through Friday, Ohio reported 14,667 cases of coronavirus, topping out with a record-breaking 3,845 cases Friday. Ohio surpassed 200,000 total cases on Monday. As of Friday, there have been 212,782 cases reported in the state.

“The public is tired of COVID, as are healthcare and public health workers. Keeping COVID at bay is hard work. But this simply is not the time to throw in the towel,” Bailer said.

“The reverse is true. It time to renew our efforts to be vigilant, to wear our masks, stay apart, keep our hands clean and get tested if we need to. It is time to say to our close family members, ‘I love you enough to keep you safe this holiday season’ (and) that means only getting together with other family members and friends in very small groups, for short periods, with mask on."

Tonight’s Halloween celebrations may be sharply impacted as state officials warn against holding parties and advise door-to-door trick or treating must be done with safety precautions in mind.

“We can slow down this invader. The decisions each Ohioan makes each day will determine what kind of winter we have,” said DeWine.

The governor called on Ohioans to get back to the basics to fight the virus, including washing hands, practicing social distance, washing hands and having good ventilation while inside.

October also saw an expansion of travel bans and quarantines to other states seeing similar spikes in coronavirus cases.

Area schools started the month optimistically with some districts announcing it would switch away from remote at home learning and hybrid schedules in returning to more normal class schedules.

But toward the end of the month some, such as Middletown Schools, backed off their planned changes in response the city and county’s continued rise of positive tests.

ExploreMiddletown delays full return to in-person classes because of coronavirus cases and quarantines

The district, which began the school year with all-remote learning, planned to phase in its return with students in classrooms on some days and home some days from Oct. 19-Nov. 6 and then a full return on Nov. 9.

That full return to classes in school five days per week has been delayed until at least January, when the Middletown school board will consider the issue again.

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