More guidance about sports at the junior high, high school and college level will be announced next week, Gov. Mike DeWine said.
The governor said that he has confidence in how schools are handling the pandemic, but that the concern lies with what students do once they leave the classroom and are out in public.
DeWine added that he hopes teachers, coaches and other school staff stress emphasize to students how important it is to be careful around others, especially when around at-risk adults and while with friends.
Montgomery County is seeing coronavirus outbreaks in long-term care facilities and workplaces as well as from family gatherings, resulting in the county’s placement at level 3.
While the virus is appearing to get under control in urban counties, rural areas, such as Mercer County are showing concerning spikes in cases, said DeWine.
“It is a deeper spread,” he said. “It’s a more comprehensive spread.”
Mercer County topped the list of outbreaks in Ohio in the last two weeks based off population. The county is seeing 262.3 cases per 100,000, according to data released by state.
Champaign County was ranked fourth in the county for occurrences of coronavirus with 149.2 cases per 100,000. Darke County was seventh with 127.2 cases per 100,000.
DeWine stressed that Ohioans, especially in the top 10 counties with occurrences of coronavirus, wear face masks, keep distance while out in public and continue to wash hands frequently.
He noted that most schools in rural areas plan to return to in-person learning. How well rural areas can keep the virus under control will determine how long schools can continue with in-person learning.
“It is a direct connection,” DeWine said. “What you do is going to determine how long the kids are going to be in school.”
The state is currently at 5.5% coronavirus positivity rate. While the number isn’t high, the governor said he would prefer to return to school at a lower rate.
The Ohio Department of Health is reporting 98,675 total cases of coronavirus and 3,652 deaths attributed to the virus in Ohio.
The state saw 1,204 cases and 34 deaths reported in the last 24 hours.
Hospitalizations increased by 81 for a total of 11,447. There were 14 ICU admissions reported in the last day, bringing the total to 2,641
There have been 75,975 presumed recoveries in the state.
DeWine took a rapid test Thursday morning in Cleveland as part of protocol to greet President Trump. The test came back as positive, prompting the governor to return to Columbus to receive a second test.
Thursday evening he announced the second test, a PCR test, was negative for coronavirus.
First Lady Fran DeWine and the governor’s staff all tested negative as well. Lt. Gov. Jon Husted also tested negative prior to greeting the president in Cleveland.
“The PCR tests for the Governor, First Lady and staff were run twice,” said to DeWine’s office. “They came back negative the first time and came back negative when they were run on a second diagnostic platform.”
The governor said he doesn’t have any symptoms except for a headache and that “I feel fine.”
The DeWines will take another PCR test on Saturday at the advice of medical professionals.
Peter Mohler, chief scientific officer at the Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center, compared PCR tests to a “high-powered telescope,” saying that the tests are extremely sensitive.
The antigen test, which is what DeWine took in Cleveland, is less sensitive and is more like looking at something with binoculars, Mohler said. Sometimes the test can result in false positives or false negatives.
Antigen tests are newer in Ohio and medical professionals are still learning more about them. The majority of tests used in Ohio are PCR tests. Mohler said the PCR test is the “gold standard” of accuracy.