COLUMBUS (News Talk 1480 WHBC) – After canceling his press conference on Tuesday afternoon, Governor Mike DeWine delivered an early evening media briefing on the current state of Ohio.

The Governor opened the presser explaining that no new health orders would be issued. Instead, the press conference was simply issued to serve as a warning to all Ohioans.

“As your Governor, I’ll take any action necessary to protect Ohio citizens,” DeWine said. “But orders are not as important as what we all do in the days ahead. The future is in our own hands.”

DeWine highlighted all of the sacrifices Ohioans have made over the past few months and thanked them for their willingness to step up and flatten the curve.

“You left school. You left work. You stayed home. You missed loved ones, milestones, and paychecks. But, because you are strong, steadfast, and selfless, you also saved lives.”

The Governor mentioned that these selfless actions by Ohioans allowed healthcare workers to respond to and treat those who were sick. It also allowed the state’s economy to reopen. However, as cases and hospitalizations continue to rise, DeWine says that the Buckeye State has once again reached a critical time in the ongoing fight against COVID-19.

DeWine sited the current COVID-19 metircs reported this afternoon from the Ohio Department of Health (ODH).

“In 4 months, we’ve already lost 3,075 Ohioans to this dreaded disease – nearly the same number of Ohioans who died in the Vietnam War,” said DeWine. “Our hospitals are seeing more and more COVID-19 patients. There are 1,027 of our fellow citizens in our hospitals suffering from COVID today.”

316 of those patients are in intensive care while 146 are on a ventilator. Data from the ODH shows the Cincinnati and Dayton regions currently seeing more COVID-positive patients in the hospital than during any previous time during the pandemic. The Cleveland region nearing a similar point.

The theory of increased testing efforts being the primary reason for the heightened number of positive tests was also addressed by the Governor.

“I know some say that our case numbers are increasing because we are simply doing more testing,” said DeWine. “Yes, our testing has gone up by 87%. But our number of positive cases has skyrocketed by almost 200%. Clearly, our number of new cases is not just the result of increased testing.”

DeWine then compared Ohio to other areas of the nation at are currently being hit hard by COVID-19; specifically, Florida and Arizona.

On June 9, Florida had 1,200 cases per day – about the same number of cases that ODH data showed in Ohio yesterday. This past Sunday, just one month later, Florida topped the nation with 15,300 new cases in one single day.

Similarly, a month ago, Florida averaged 8.3 new cases per 100,000 residents per day, a little bit under what Ohio is currently at. As of Tuesday, Florida’s new cases have increased six-fold per day.

Just like Florida, a month ago, Arizona was also at 1,200 new cases per day. As of Sunday, Arizona was at 3,400 new cases per day. Arizona averaged almost 18 new cases per 100,000 residents per day last month. That has increased more than 2.5 times as of Tuesday.

“If Ohio does not change course, Florida and Arizona will be our future,” said DeWine. “Ohio is sliding down a very dangerous path, with our once flattened curve starting to sharpen and spike. This worrisome, disturbing reversal of our progress is a jarring reminder of just how quickly our fate can change. A matter of weeks can change our trajectory.”

DeWine once again encouraged all Ohioans to wear a mask in public, even if the county they live and work in has yet to mandate them. He also acknowledged that masks are not the sole solution. The Governor says that as a state, Ohioans have began to let their guards down, which simply has to change.

“Ask yourself this,” said DeWine. “Will the family reunion be worth it if your grandmother tests positive and dies? Will the neighborhood cookout be worth it if your neighbor ends up alone, on a ventilator, in ICU? Will the play date be worth it, if the kids can’t go back to school in the fall?”

The Governor says that eventually, the virus will go away. He wants all Ohioans to still be around when that day comes.

“We are Buckeyes. We are strong. And we will not relent as we forge our path forward – united – to build Ohio’s great future together.”