November surge: Butler County coronavirus cases rose 71% last month

Ohio smashed its record for daily hospitalizations on Tuesday, which began a new month following a November that saw rising cases and hospitalizations in Butler County.

Butler County finished November with 16,923 coronavirus cases since the pandemic began in March. That was a 71.2% increase in total cases just in the previous month, during which the county passed both the 10,000-case and 15,000-case milestones.

In a 30-day period that saw the installation of a statewide curfew from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. also included regular warnings from health officials that their concern sharpened for the pressure hospitals were facing because of the rise of infections.

There were 15 deaths in Butler County in November, according to Ohio Department of Health data, which is about 10% of the total deaths (152) recorded since the pandemic began. That ranked November as No. 6 of the nine months in total deaths. The most deaths for a month, 29, happened in May, according to ODH data.

Because of the rise in cases, the Butler County General Health District said on Tuesday it would shift its contact tracing efforts in researching the histories of case spread to the highest-risk situations, instead of trying to track the history of all cases.

“When case numbers get as high as they are currently, research shows that contact tracing is of limited use in a community,” said health district Commissioner Jennifer Bailer. “It is really incumbent upon the community to not give COVID what it needs to spread. We know what to do to stop this pandemic—stay apart, wear a mask. COVID cannot spread without human hosts. If we stay apart we can decrease this pandemic.”

Ohio on Tuesday reported reported 585 hospitalizations in the previous 24 hours. There are 5,226 COVID-19 patients in hospitals across the state, beating the record of 5,067 set on Monday. Hospitalized patients in southwest Ohio increased slightly from 1,255 to 1,268.

Coronavirus patients account for 18.09% of hospital beds in the region, with 1,854 (or 26.44%) of beds remaining open.

There are 310 ICU patients and 191 people on ventilators in southwest Ohio, according to ODH.

Throughout the pandemic, Ohio has reported 27,449 total hospitalizations and 4,729 ICU admissions.

Following the Thanksgiving holiday, Gov. Mike DeWine asked Ohioans to continue to limit physical contact with people outside their household.

“I’m asking every Ohioan to continue to pull back and limit your activities. There is a cause and effect to what we do — we can slow this down,” he said. The scariest thing is that there is no indication that we have plateaued. We haven’t seen anything like this for 100 years.”

Health district asks for public help in contact tracing

The Butler County General Health District has asked residents who test positive for coronavirus to do two things to help limit spread:

1. Stay home for 10 days and until their symptoms are improved and they have had no fever for 24 hours without use of medication. Call a provider or 911 if symptoms are concerning.

2. Get in touch with everyone they were near for two days before symptoms began (for 15 mins. or more over 24 hours, and within 6 feet, whether or not masks were worn), and ask them to quarantine for 14 days. Quarantine must be held for the entire 14 days even if a negative test result is obtained since people may get sick any time up to 14 days after exposure.