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Coronavirus In Ohio: November 2–December 31

Ohio State employee Stacey Boyer, left, receives a Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine from Kelli Barnes Monday, Dec. 14, 2020, in Columbus, Ohio.
Jay LaPrete
Associated Press
Ohio State employee Stacey Boyer, left, receives a Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine from Kelli Barnes Monday, Dec. 14, 2020, in Columbus, Ohio.

WOSU is providing updates about the coronavirus and COVID-19 in Ohio. Find the most recent news and information below.

Ohio by the numbers, according to the Ohio Department of Health:

  • 8,962 COVID-19-related deaths, 850 of those probable
  • 700,380 cases of COVID-19, 72,044 of those probable 
  • 38,334 people hospitalized, 5,870 in ICU
  • 7,680,270 total tests administered

All of WOSU’s coverage of the coronavirus outbreak can be found here.

If you think you have coronavirus, or have questions about the disease, Ohio's coronavirus call center is open daily from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. The hotline number is 1-833-4-ASK-ODH or 1-833-427-5634. More information is available at coronavirus.ohio.gov.

Has your job been impacted by the coronavirus? You may be eligible for unemployment benefits. Visit unemployment.ohio.gov to learn more and apply.

The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have provided a list of answers to frequently asked questions about the coronavirus. Here are thelatest numberson the outbreak in the United States.

Latest Updates

Thursday, December 31

2:00 p.m. Ohio now has over 700,000 total reported cases of COVID-19.

11:05 a.m. Cleveland Browns have closed their facility and delayed practice for the second straight day after two more players tested positive for COVID-19. The situation has impacted the team's ability to prepare for Sunday's big game against the Pittsburgh Steelers – where a win could put the Browns in the playoffs for the first time since 2002.

Wednesday, December 30

2:00 p.m. Gov. Mike DeWine's press conference.

  • DeWine is encouraging all who are eligible to get vaccinated as soon as possible. DeWine said that getting vaccinated is a choice, but that there is a moral imperative to do so. He said if people opt out now, there is no guarantee when anopther opportunity may come.
  • DeWine is asking hospitals – when they receive vaccines – to do everything in their power to get vaccines into people's arms within 24 hours and then to report it back to the state.
  • DeWine said they get information about vaccine shipments every Tuesday. Next week, he expects 69,500 Moderna doses, 70,200 Pfizer first doses, and 98,475 Pfizer second doses. Incomplete state data shows that 94,078 people have received the first vaccine shot so far in Ohio.  
  • DeWine said that educators and staff in K-12 schools will be prioritized for vaccinations in phase 2 of the state's vaccine rollout.
  • The state is now recommending that students with exposure to another COVID-positive student do not need to quarantine if mask protocols have been abserved.
  • The Health Department is extending the 10 p.m.- 5 a.m. statewide curfew for another three weeks until January 23, 2021.

1:52 p.m. The Ohio Department of Health reported 8,178 new COVID-19 cases and 133 deaths in the last day. The state also logged 366 hospitalizations and 36 ICU admissions.

11:28 a.m. The Cleveland Browns have closed their facilities again after an unnamed player and staff member tested positive for COVID-19.

Tuesday, December 29

2:03 p.m. Ohio reports an increase of 7,526 more COVID-19 cases and 151 deaths in the last day. The state also saw 560 more hospitalizations and 52 ICU admissions.

Monday, December 28

1:45 p.m. The Ohio Department of Health reports 4,519 cases of COVID-19 and 62 deaths in the last day. The state also saw 290 more hospitalizations and 30 ICU admissions in the last day.

Sunday, December 27

3:22 p.m. The Ohio Department of Health reports 5,857 new COVID-19 cases and 33 deaths in the last 24 hours. The state also saw 273 more hospitalizations and 30 ICU admissions over the same time period. 

Saturday, December 26

5:57 p.m. Cleveland Browns starting linebacker B.J. Goodson was placed on the COVID-19 list in advance of Sunday's game against the New York Jets. Per current NFL rules, Goodson will miss Cleveland's final two regular-season games, and several players listed as "high risk close contacts" could be out as well.

1:57 p.m. The Ohio Department of Health reports 11,018 new COVID-19 cases and 20 deaths in the last 48 hours. The state also saw 168 more hospitalizations and 14 ICU admissions over the same time period. Ohio did not report new numbers on Friday due to the Christmas holiday. 

Thursday, December 24

4:07 p.m. The Ohio Department of Health reports 8,828 new COVID-19 cases and 95 deaths in the last day. The state also saw 320 more hospitalizations and 35 ICU admissions.

  • The state announced it will not report numbers on Friday, Dec. 25 due to the holiday and Saturday's numbers will reflect both days.

Wednesday, December 23

2:00 p.m. Gov. Mike DeWine's press conference.

  • Emergency service workers and healthcare staff across the state received vaccine injections live on the air.
  • DeWine said Ohio is reporting 7,790 new cases, which is below average for the past three weeks but is still at the elevated level we’ve seen since mid-November.
  • DeWine said that the next category of person to get vaccines after frontline workers and those in nursing home facilities will be Ohioans who are 65 years old and older. The reasoning is that about 87% of COVID-19 deaths in Ohio are in this age category. Younger people with severe inherited or developmental disorders will also be eligible. 
  • Teachers and staff of k-12 schools that want to go full-time in-person will be the next category eligible for the vaccine. The goal is to get this done so schools can be back by March 1.
  • DeWine is recommending that schools delay the start of in-person classes for an extra week after the winter break to limit the spread of the virus.

11:25 a.m. Ohio's next COVID-19 vaccine shipments will arrive Thursday, behind schedule but slightly more than expected. Ohio health officials say the 89,000 doses of the Pfizer vaccine are almost 20,000 more than previously expected, and an additional 69,700 doses of the Moderna vaccine will arrive later this week.

Tuesday, December 22

5:07 p.m. State Rep. Michele Lepore-Hagan (D-Youngstown) has tested positive for COVID-19. The Democratic lawmaker says she is asymptomatic but got tested after being in close proximity to several Ohio House GOP members with coronavirus symptoms who refused to follow safety precautions.

1:45 p.m. Ohio reported 130 deaths from COVID-19, the third-highest daily death toll since the pandemic began. The state also reported 7,678 new cases, 546 hospitalizations and 51 ICU admissions in the last day.

10:00 a.m. State Rep. Casey Weinstein (D-Hudson) announced on Twitter that he tested positive for COVID-19 and will stay in quarantine – the latest Ohio lawmaker to miss part of the lame-duck session due to the coronavirus. Weinstein said he has mild system, but "this thing is tearing through my family. It's scary."

Monday, December 21

2:00 p.m. Gov. Mike DeWine gives a coronavirus press conference:

  • Two residents of nursing homes, Karyl Junkala and Brenda Monteith, received vaccine injections live on the air.
  • DeWine said Ohio avoided a big spike because many chose to stay home with less contact over Thanksgiving. According to data collected by the New York Times, there was a 60-70% reduction in the number of contacts people had over the holiday weekend. 
  • Dr. Bruce Vanderhoff, Ohio Department of Health chief medical officer, said that Ohioans must remain vigilant about keeping gatherings small and following other protocols to prevent a surge in January.
  • DeWine reiterated that Ohio's public health orders do not affect religious gatherings around Christmas.

9:46 a.m. According to the Associated Press, more than half of the $98 million Ohio spent on PPE and ventilators in the early months of the pandemic went to buying hospital gowns. That included 3 million gowns from an Ohio-based marketing and printing company, which got them from a manufacturer in China, and two orders totally $6 million from LA-based La La Land Production.

9:30 a.m. Over the weekend, the Ohio Department of Health confirmed that its second and third shipments of the COVID-19 vaccine from Pfizer will be just half of what was expected. But DeWine says the state should still get at least 500,000 doses this month.

  • DeWine also announced the Department of Health and Human Services approved a waiver to allow Ohio National Guard medical personnel to administer vaccines to the general population, whenever that time comes

Sunday, December 20

1:57 p.m. Ohio's Department of Health reported 8,377 new COVID-19 cases and 16 deaths in the last day. The state also saw 194 hospitalizations and 38 ICU admissions.

Saturday, December 19

2:01 p.m. Ohio has surpassed the 8,000 death mark.  The state reported an increase of 8,567 new COVID-19 cases and 64 deaths in the last day, as well as 410 more hospitalizations and 17 ICU admissions.

Friday, December 18

4:25 p.m. Ohio says the next weekly shipment of its Pfizer coronavirus vaccine will be lower than previously estimated. A Department of Health spokeswoman said they will be allocated about 70,200 doses of the Pfizer vaccine, down from previous estimates of about 123,000 doses.

  • Several other states also say they have been told to expect far fewer doses of the Pfizer vaccine in its second week of distribution.

1:45 p.m. Ohio has surpassed the benchmark of 600,000 total coronavirus cases. The state reported an increase of 9,864 new COVID-19 cases and 73 deaths in the last day, as well as 398 more hospitalizations and 47 ICU admissions.

  • Statewide hospitalizations dropped to their lowest number in weeks. There are currently 4,940 COVID-19 patients in Ohio hospitals, including 1,172 in ICUs and 817 on ventilators.

8:30 a.m. Two more Ohio lawmakers have been sidelined due to COVID-19: state Reps. Casey Weinstein (D-Hudson) and Jon Cross (R-Kenton), both of whom missed Thursday's legislative sessions.

  • Weinstein said he was quarantining after a family member tested positive for COVID-19, "after seeing colleagues hospitalized due to another legislator's recent reckless behavior."
  • Cross, a vocal opponent of Ohio's coronavirus restrictions and critic of mask-wearing, said he was still waiting for results after experiencing symptoms and his wife tested positive.

8:00 a.m. As part of a CDC partnership, Ohio began distributing the COVID-19 vaccine to residents of nursing homes and long-term care facilities on Friday morning, starting with Crowne Point Care Center in Columbus. Resident Rebecca Meeker became the first long-term care patient in the state to receive the vaccine.

Thursday, December 17

2:00 p.m. Gov. Mike DeWine's press conference.

  • DeWine Gov. DeWine expressed condolences for corrections officer David Keith of the Ohio Correctional Facility who died from complications with COVID-19.
  • Nursing home staff and residence are scheduled to start getting vaccines tomorrow.
  • DeWine reported on how public schools are educating students. 27.9% are in-person, 45.2% are fully remote, 26.1% are using a hybrid model. One district is closed.

9:05 a.m. Ohio reported 286 more deaths in nursing homes in the last week, bringing the total to 4,361 deaths since the pandemic began. That accounts for 61% of the state's confirmed coronavirus deaths.

Wednesday, December 16

2:00 p.m. The Ohio Department of Health reported 5,409 new COVID-19 cases and 123 more deaths, the third-highest daily death toll on record. However, the case total is low due to technical difficulties. The state also recorded 497 more hospitalizations and 61 more ICU admissions.

  • Overall hospitalizations ticked down slightly from Tuesday's record high, with 5,143 COVID-19 patients hospitalized and 1,254 in the ICU. There are also 845 patients on ventilators.

Tuesday, December 15

2:30 p.m. Gov. Mike DeWine's press conference.

  • DeWine said Ohio should receive about 420,000 vaccines doses by Christmas. This week, the state received 98,475 doses from Pfizer. During the week of New Year’s, Ohio is expected to get an additional 148,000 Pfizer vaccines and 89,000 doses of the Moderna vaccine.
  • During the press conference, several hospital staff across the state received vaccines live on camera or discussed getting the shot recently.
  • DeWine said that the state now has more patients just in the ICU than it had total for all COVID hospitalizations during the peak last summer. Also, there are 863 patients on a ventilator today versus just 360 patients on ventilators a month ago.

Monday, December 14

3:00 p.m. Gov. Mike DeWine's press conference.

  • The first vaccine injections were administered to hospital staff at OSU's Wexner Medical Center and University of Cincinnati Medical Center today. Eight more hospitals will get vaccines tomorrow.
  • DeWine said the CDC has invited Ohio to be part of the early launch of the vaccine in nursing homes. Vaccinations in 5 to 10 nursing homes should start this Friday.
  • DeWine announced that a new vaccine data dashboard will be available in the coming days on the state's coronavirus website.

2:00 p.m. Ohio's Department of Health reported 7,875 new COVID-19 cases and 59 deaths in the last day. The state also saw 291 hospitalizations and 38 ICU admissions.

10:00 a.m. Gov. Mike DeWine says that the COVID-19 vaccine doses have arrived in Ohio. Health care workers at Ohio State's Wexner Medical Center and UC Health will receive the first 975 doses, while another 975 doses will be sent to eight other hospitals around the state.

Sunday, December 13

1:53 p.m. The Ohio Department of Health reports an increase of 9,266 new COVID-19 cases and 15 deaths in the last day. The state also saw 170 more hospitalizations and 20 ICU admissions.

Saturday, December 12

4:30 p.m. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) and Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio) are calling on Congress to pass a new, bipartisan coronavirus relief proposal, which would be the first federal aid package passed in months. Although the new bill does not provide more direct stimulus checks to taxpayers, Brown says those should be included in a follow-up bill.

2:15 p.m.  The Ohio Department of Health reports an increase of 11,252 new COVID-19 cases and 51 deaths in the last day. The state also saw 267 more hospitalizations and 17 ICU admissions.

Thursday, December 10

2:40 p.m. Hilliard City Schools will be shifting back to hybrid learning starting December 14. Hilliard went to all virtual learning on November 30 after Franklin County was elevated to the purple level five days earlier.

2:00 p.m. Gov. DeWine's press conference.

  • Ohio reported 11,738 new coronavirus cases, the fourth highest case count to date.
  • DeWine said the next three weeks will be the most important of the year. "COVID-19 is the single greatest threat to the physical wellbeing of all Ohioans," he said.
  • DeWine announced a new Stay Safe Ohio protocol for how to be safe over the next three weeks. The measures in the protocol include: stay home, wear a mask, keep physical distance, wash hands or sanitize, work from home when possible, keep celebrations safe and small, don't eat or drink with anyone outside of your household, limit travel, and keep weddings and funerals safe. 
  • DeWine extended the statewide 10 p.m. curfew order through Jan. 1, 2021.
  • Four major sporting events, including the MLS Cup, are being exempt from the curfew because they won't be finished in time and can't be rescheduled because of national TV contracts.

8:40 a.m. The Ohio Department of Health reports 212 new COVID-19 deaths at nursing homes and long-term care facilities, bringing the total to 4,075 since the pandemic began. That accounts for 61% of the state's confirmed COVID-19 deaths.

Wednesday, December 9

1:50 p.m. The Ohio Department of Health reports an increase of 10,094 new COVID-19 cases and 84 deaths in the last day. The state also saw 464 more hospitalizations and 49 ICU admissions.

11:16 a.m. A fourth member of the Ohio legislature hastested positive for COVID-19: state Rep. John Rogers, a Democrat from Mentor-on-the-Lake. House Speaker Bob Cupp canceled sessions scheduled for Wednesday, but says the move is unrelated.

  • Republicans in the Ohio House yesterday voted down another rule proposal from Democrats to require members to wear face masks at the Statehouse, where coverings are required for everyone but legislators.

8:02 a.m. The Ohio Education Association, which represents most of the state's teachers, says that K-12 students should all go to remote learning starting immediately, and not return to the classroom until January 11. That start date would allow students and staff enough time to quarantine after the New Year holiday.

Tuesday, December 8

2:00 p.m. As expected, today's COVID-19 numbers from the Ohio Department of Health showed a large increase of cases as a backlog of antigen test results were added to the total. There were 25,721 cases added today, along with 81 deaths, 67 ICU admissions and a record-high 657 hospitalizations.

1:50 p.m. The University of Michigan has canceled its annual rivalry game against The Ohio State University as the number of COVID-19 cases on its team increases.

1:30 p.m. The Columbus City Attorney has temporarily shuttered the Far East Side night club Aftermath after state agents issued citations for multiple violations of COVID-19 health restrictions.

1:00 p.m. Summit County Public Health officials are urging schools and colleges to stop all sports and further reduce in-person contact, saying that doing so will help the county's hospitals from being overloaded.

8:30 a.m. A third Ohio lawmaker, state Rep. John Patterson (D-Jefferson), has tested positive for COVID-19. The Ohio House still plans to hold sessions Tuesday and committee meetings on Wednesday, even as Democratic leaders call on the Speaker to cancel sessions and share more information on COVID-19 cases.

Monday, December 7

2:00 p.m. Gov. Mike DeWine's press conference.

  • Ohio reported 9,273 new COVID-19 cases, the six-highest increase to date, and 63 more deaths.
  • DeWine said that tomorrow, a backlog of antigen test results will be added to the case totals and therefore will indicate a one-time spike in numbers. The state has nearly 12,600 positive antigen tests in the pending queue. Previoulsy, the state was double checking antigen tests but the increased volume of testing made that practice untenable.
  • DeWine said that the 10 p.m. curfew will "need to be extended," as it is set to expire on Thursday.

12:09 p.m. House Minority Leader Emilia Sykes (D-Akron) told Democratstoday that a second state lawmaker had tested positive for COVID-19 in the last week, following the Friday announcement of a positive test from state Rep. Rick Carfagna (R-Genoa Twp.).

  • Sykes said the lawmaker, who has not been identified, was in session on Wednesday and Thursday, and criticized House Republican leaders for failing to inform legislators about the test.

9:00 a.m. A club on Columbus' Far East Side, Aftermath, has been cited by the Ohio Investigative Unit after a Saturday night concert attended by about 500 people without social distancing or face masks. The offense will go to the Ohio Liquor Control Commission for penalties that could include fines or the suspension or revocation of its liquor permit.

Sunday, December 6

2:00 p.m. The Ohio Department of Health reported 7,592 new COVID-19 cases and 13 deaths in the last day. The state also saw 274 more hospitalizations and 33 more ICU admissions.

Saturday, December 5

2:12 p.m. The Ohio Department of Health reported 10,469 new COVID-19 cases and 64 deaths in the last day – the fourth-highest increase for daily cases. The state also saw 286 more hospitalizations and 23 more ICU admissions.

Friday, December 4

2:44 p.m. Ohio University's home football game Saturday against the University of Buffalo has been canceled due to "roster issues with the Ohio football team related to positive COVID-19 tests and subsequent contact tracing," according to the Mid-American Conference. As a result, Buffalo has clinched the MAC East title.

2:00 p.m. Gov. Mike DeWine gives a press conference on Ohio's coronavirus vaccine distribution plan.

  • Dr. Bruce Vanderhoff, chief medical officer for the state Health Department, says Ohio will offer people two new options for quarantining after COVID-19 exposure – either 10 days without getting a test, or seven days with a test, both contingent on having no coronavirus symptoms. That's down from the previous CDC guidelines of quarantining for 14 days after a possible exposure, a change aimed at improving compliance.
  • DeWine says "Phase 1A" of the state's vaccine distribution plan will begin around December 15, with the following priority groups: Health care workers and personnel involved in the care of COVID-19 patients; EMS responders; and vulnerable individuals who live in close proximity and those who care for them, including at assisted living facilities, state psychiatric hospitals, group homes for intellectual or physical disabilities, and homes for veterans.
  • If approved, DeWine expects the Pfizer's shipment around December 15, which includes 9,750 doses for hospitals and 88,725 for Walgreens and CVS to distribute to congregate care settings.
  • On December 22, the state expects 201,000 from Moderna, which will go to hospitals and health departments around the state, and another 123,000 doses from Pfizer directed to nursing homes.
  • A week later, an additional 148,000 doses from Pfizer and 89,000 from Moderna are scheduled to arrive.
  • Dr. Joseph Gastaldo at Ohio Health says the vaccines are 95% effective and will be independently reviewed by medical experts twice before they're distributed. Both the FDA and CDC reviews of the vaccine studies will be open to the public. Preliminary reviews have shown the vaccine's only symptoms are soreness and fatigue, which are expected from a vaccine.
  • DeWine noted that polling shows about half of Ohioans have concerns about a vaccine, and acknowledged concerns among African Americans and other minority groups, but says those doubts will likely go down as health care workers and others start to take it themselves.
  • DeWine would not say what priority that inmates and workers in Ohio's prisons, which have experienced some of the highest numbers of cases and deaths from COVID-19, are in the vaccine distribution schedule.
  • Ohio will aim for geographical spread of the coronavirus vaccine, rather than concentrating the first vaccine doses in one area.

1:48 p.m. The Ohio Department of Health reported 10,114 new COVID-19 cases and 129 deaths in the last day – the third-highest increase for both daily cases and death tolls. The state also saw 392 more hospitalizations and 33 more ICU admissions.

Thursday, December 3

2:00 p.m. Gov. Mike DeWine's press conference.

  • The state reported 8,921 new cases today, which is the fifth-highest case count so far in this pandemic.
  • Dr. Andy Thomas of Ohio State's Wexner Medical Center said that a third of patients in Ohio's ICUs have COVID. In rural areas, that ratio increases to one out of every two ICU patients.
  • For the first time since April, Ohio is on its own travel advisory list, as the positivity rate is above 15%.
  • There are five new purple counties in the state's public health advisory map. They are Medina, Portage, Richland, Stark, and Summit. Franklin County is no longer in the most severe purple category, but Thomas said that the case number is still very serious and six times the CDC definition of high incidence. 

8:37 a.m. The Ohio Department of Health reports 155 new deaths within nursing homes in the last week. That brings the total number of nursing home deaths to 3,863, which is 62% of Ohio's total confirmed deaths.

7:15 a.m. Ohio Senate president Larry Obhof says he has enough votesto override Gov. Mike DeWine's threatened veto of a bill restricting the health department's powers during an emergency. The bill is aimed at preventing future statewide shutdowns like the one issued in March. However, DeWine has called the bill reckless at a time when the state is struggling to slow the spread of COVID-19.

6:30 a.m. Cincinnati Public Schools has scrapped its plan to return to some in-classroom learning on January 4. Just over a month after transitioning to a hybrid system, the district went entirely remote again last week due to staffing issues caused by COVID-19. Cincinnati will make a decision about long-term plans on January 16.

Wednesday, December 2

2:00 p.m. Ohio reported 123 deaths from COVID-19 in the last day, the second-highest daily increase ever. The state also reported 7,835 new cases, 436 more hospitalizations and 52 more ICU admissions.

  • Ohio's seven-day positivity rate is now 15.1%, which is above the threshold that the state itself uses for issuing travel advisories.

11:43 a.m. The Ohio Business Roundtable has launched the Coalition to Stop the Spread, which is publicizing the risk to Ohio's economy if the pandemic gets worse. The campaign asks employees to model best practices for reducing the spread of COVID-19, including wearing face masks, avoiding large gatherings, and reconsidering holiday events.

10:45 a.m. The Columbus Crew confirmed that one player tested positive for COVID-19 on Monday, but no new players or staff tested positive Tuesday. The team is not holding training on Wednesday and will sanitize its facility, but is going ahead with its Eastern Conference Finals match against the New England Revolution on Sunday.

Tuesday, December 1

3:05 p.m. Cleveland Browns star Myles Garrett has been cleared to return to the field after missing two games due to COVID-19. Garrett tested positive on November 20, after being isolated from the team for two days prior, but the Browns won both games without their top defender.

1:57 p.m. The Ohio Department of Health reported a record 535 people were hospitalized for COVID-19 in the last day. The state also saw 9,033 new cases, 119 deaths and 47 ICU admissions.

Monday, November 30

2:06 p.m. With some data still incomplete, the Ohio Department of Health reported an increase of 6,631 new COVID-19 cases and 30 deaths in the last day. The state also reported 357 more hospitalizations and 38 more ICU admissions.

  • Ohio set a new record for coronavirus patients in hospitals, with 5,060 – the first time the state has surpassed 5,000 patients hospitalized for COVID-19. The state also reports 1,180 patients in the ICU and a record 682 patients on ventilators.

12:26 p.m. Akron mayor Dan Horrigan says he recently tested positive for COVID-19, according to Cleveland.com. Horrigan said he contracted "cold-like" symptoms that lasted for a week.

8:30 a.m. Akron-based Summa Health will suspend elective surgeries beginning Tuesday, Dec. 1, due to the rising number of COVID-19 cases. The hospital system is currently treating about 140 coronavirus patients at their Akron and Barberton campuses.

Sunday, November 29

1:58 p.m. With thousands of tests pending review to be double-checked, the Ohio Department of Health has reported record increases of 7,729 new COVID-19 cases and 21 deaths. The state also reported 245 new hospitalizations and 36 ICU admissions in the last day.

Saturday, November 28

2:25 p.m. The Ohio Department of Health has reported record increases of 6,895 new COVID-19 cases and 32 deaths. The state also reported 302 new hospitalizations and 37 ICU admissions in the last day.

Friday, November 27

11:13 p.m. Ohio State's football game with Illinois slated for Saturday has been canceled due to a COVID-19 spike among the Buckeyes, including coach Ryan Day. Ohio State announced it was canceling the game on Friday night a little more than 13 hours before kickoff.  

3:30 p.m. The Ohio Department of Health reported new coronavirus statistics for the last two days. Over the last 48 hours there were 17,065 new cases, 72 deaths, 474 hospitalizations and 44 ICU admissions. The state did not release COVID-19 numbers on Thursday due to the Thanksgiving holiday. 

Wednesday, November 25

6:03 p.m. Hilliard City Schools is shifting to virtual learning starting on Monday, November 30 after Franklin County remained at the purple level on the state's Public Health Advisory System. The district had been in a hybrid learning mode.

5:57 p.m. Franklin County remains at purple or level four on Ohio's Public Health Advisory System, which indicates severe exposure or spread of COVID-19. Lake, Lorain and Montgomery counties were elevated to purple for the first time. 

  • Eleven counties are on the watch list to be moved up to level four next week. They include, Adams, Clermont, Hamilton, Medina, Portage, Richland, Stark, Summit, Trumbull, Warren and Wood counties. 

1:56 p.m. The Ohio Department of Health has reported record increases of 10,835 new COVID-19 cases and 156 deaths. The state also reported 417 new hospitalizations and 44 ICU admissions in the last day.

Tuesday, November 24

4:14 p.m. The Ohio State women's basketball game Wednesday against the University of Akron has been canceled "out an abundance of caution" aftter Akron "shared results of its most recent testing." The Athletics Department says the decision does not affect Wednesday's men's basketball game against Illinois State.

2:00 p.m. Gov. Mike DeWine's COVID-19 update press conference.

  • DeWine said Ohio will get its first batch of a COVID-19 vaccine around December 15.
  • DeWine said that many schools have suspended winter sports. He is asking schools that have not done so to have games without fans or family members in the stands.

9:18 a.m. Cleveland Browns defensive star Myles Garrett will miss his second consecutive game on Sunday as he recovers from COVID-19. Coach Kevin Stefanski says Garrett will not be back in time to face the Jacksonville Jaguars, but did not provide details on his condition.

Monday, November 23

2:00 p.m. Gov. Mike DeWine invited several hospital officials to speak at his press conference and report on how the surge is impacting the hospital system. New patients are arriving more frequently than beds open up, and staffing is a concern as more caregivers get infected or are in quarantine. 

9:21 a.m. Akron Public Schools is pausing its plans for students to return to the classroom. A "remote plus" plan was set to begin November 30, which would allow in-person support to students with disabilities and those struggling with school. Most winter sports have also been paused.

8:45 a.m. The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame is temporarily closing its doors beginning today. The Columbus Museum of Art closed on Saturday.

Sunday, November 22

1:59 p.m. The Ohio Department of Health has reported record increases of 8,133 new COVID-19 cases and 12 deaths. The state also reported 205 hospitalizations and 24 ICU admissions in the last day.

Saturday, November 21

1:59 p.m. The Ohio Department of Health has reported record increases of 7,863 new COVID-19 cases and 29 deaths. The state also reported 260 hospitalizations and 34 ICU admissions in the last day.

Friday, November 20

3:51 p.m. Cleveland Browns defensive star Myles Garrett has tested positive for COVID-19 and will miss Sunday's game against the Philadelphia Eagles. Garrett had been isolating at home for two days after showing symptoms.

2:07 p.m. The Ohio Department of Health has reported record increases of 8,808 new COVID-19 cases and 398 hospitalizations in the last day.

8:00 a.m. Ohio State University has announced that classes will return to online only starting Friday at 6 p.m., earlier than planned. Meanwhile, Columbus City Schools, South-Western City Schools and Hilliard City Schools have all suspended extracurricular activities, following the county's stay-at-home advisory.

  • Ohio State also announced that all campus facilities, including the Ohio Union, dining halls and rec centers will close by 9:30 p.m. nightly to comply with the new statewide curfew. All employees who can work remotely are being told to do so once again.

Thursday, November 19

5:33 p.m. Gov. Mike DeWine has signed the statewide curfew order, which takes effect tonight at 10 p.m. The curfew will remain in place for 21 days.

5:07 p.m. Republicans in the Ohio House have passed a bill limiting the governor and Department of Health's power to issue quarantines on any regions or the state as a whole. Gov. Mike DeWine says he will veto, but because Republicans control a supermajority of the legislature, they may have enough support to override the veto.

2:40 p.m. Ohio House Republicans rejected a motion to require masks on the floor during a session in a 58-31 vote.

2:00 p.m. Gov. DeWine's press conference.

  • DeWine said today's data is not complete because more antigen tests are being done and not all are being included until they are investigated. Today there are about 12,000 cases that have not been double checked yet.
  • Combating the notion that more cases are because of more testing, DeWine said that though testing has gone up 43% since October 17, positive cases have gone up 299%.
  • DeWine said Ohio is now in the middle of a big surge in patients who are hospitalized. As of today, there are up to 3,829 COVID-19 patients currently in the hospital, with 943 of those in the ICU. These are the highest patient counts ever during the pandemic.
  • DeWine spoke out against Senate Bill 311, which would limit the power of the state to issue quarantine orders. The bill has passed in the Ohio Senate and expected to be voted on in the House shortly. DeWine called the bill a "disaster," and promised to veto the bill if it gets to his desk.
  • Hospital staff and administrators from across the state called in to share stories of how the surge is putting a stress on our hospital system.

1:50 p.m. Franklin County is the first in Ohio to be marked as level four "purple" in the Public Health Advisory System, the most severe level of coronavirus spread.

1:14 p.m. Beginning Saturday, Columbus Metropolitan Library is once again closing its buildings to the public and returning to curbside and walk-up service onlyat all its branches. The Marion-Franklin branch will be closed entirely.

1:05 p.m. The Ohio High School Athletic Association is moving this weekend's football championships to Paul Brown Tiger Stadium in Massillon, following the "stay at home" advisory issued by Columbus and Franklin County health departments. The six games were set to be played at Fortress Obetz beginning Friday.

9:10 a.m. The Ohio Department of Job and Family Services reports that 24,964 Ohioans filed new unemployment claims in the last week – an increase from the previous week – and 254,613 people filed continued claims.

8:30 a.m. Ohio nursing homes reported another 89 COVID-19 deaths in the last week, according to the Department of Health. In total, nursing homes have seen 3,523 coronavirus deaths since the pandemic began, accounting for 64% of the statewide total.

Wednesday, November 18

2:45 p.m. Cleveland and Cuyahoga County, and Dayton and Montgomery County, have announced stay-at-home advisories of their own. Both take effect today and last through December 17. Similar to Columbus' measure, the advisories asks residents to avoid non-essential travel and activities, not hold holiday gatherings, and not travel in and out of state.

2:07 p.m. Ohio State University announces that staff and friends and families of players will no longer be permitted at Ohio Stadium to watch football games, in order to comply with the city's new stay-at-home advisory. Ohio State is scheduled to play Indiana at home on Saturday at noon.

11:52 a.m. Columbus is issuing a "stay at home" advisory beginning Friday at 6 p.m. due to the rapid rise of COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations in the area. Mayor Andrew Ginther and Health Comissioner Dr. Mysheika Roberts say that residents are advised to leave home only to go to work or school, or for essential needs and picking up food.

Tuesday, November 17

2:45 p.m. The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center, OhioHealth and Mount Carmel Health System will temporarily stop allowing inpatient and emergency department visitors inside any of their hospitals in Columbus. The restrictions start Wednesday, Nov 18. There will be some exceptions including maternity and end-of-life care.

2:00 p.m. Gov. Mike DeWine has announced a statewide curfewto stop the spread of COVID-19.

  • DeWine described the dramatic increase in hospitalizations. On Oct. 13, Ohio had about 1,000 hospitalizations. On Nov. 5, there were 2,000. Nov. 12 had 3,000. Today, there are 3,648 hospitalizations reported.
  • DeWine announced that a curfew will go into place across the state from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. It will start Thursday and run for three weeks. There are exceptions for groceries and pharmacies, and the order is not meant to stop people from getting to work or going to the hospital.
  • Restaurants will also be allowed to continue delivery, takeout and drive-thru service, but dining rooms must close at 10 p.m.
  • Dr. Bruce Vanderhoff, the health department chief medical officer, warned that Ohioans should limit holiday gatherings to a small circle of people. He also expressed concern for a potential hospital staffing crisis as cases surge.

11:30 a.m. Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio) says he is joining a phase-three trial of a COVID-19 vaccine, as a way to encourage more people to volunteer for the studies. Portman says he received an injection earlier this month at a Cincinnati lab that's testing an experimental vaccine from Johnson & Johnson, but doesn't know if he received the drug or a dummy shot.

10:09 a.m. Ahead of Thanksgiving, Akron City Council has passed legislation temporarily limiting the size of private gatherings in the city to six people, and mandates face coverings at those gatherings at all times. Violators may face a $250 fine.

Monday, November 16

4:30 p.m. Nationwide Children's Hospital says it will start admittingyoung adult patients under the age of 26 that are referred by other Columbus-area hospitals, as many near capacity due to the surge of coronavirus cases. Nationwide Children's will not accept COVID-19 patients, however.

1:55 p.m. The Ohio Department of Health reports an increase of 7,268 new COVID-19 cases in the last day, the fourth-highest on record, and bringing the state to over 300,000 cases since the pandemic began. Half of those cases have come in the last two months. Ohio also reported 20 more deaths, 213 hospitalizations and 19 more ICU admissions.

10:49 a.m. The Ohio Department of Health has issued a revised health order limiting mass gatherings, specifically wedding receptions, funerals and other banquet events – all of which have been identified as major events for spreading COVID-19.

  • Under the order, no socializing, dancing or other activities are allowed in open congregate areas; guests must be seated at all times, with the exception of certain wedding activities like the first dance, toasts, and cutting he cake.
  • Masks must be worn at all times unless actively consuming food or beverages, no self-serve bar or buffets are allowed, and no more than 10 people from the same household can be seated at a table.

9:54 a.m. Cincinnati has closed City Hall in order to install air purifiers and additional dividers, as COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations rapidly increase in the region.

9:08 a.m. Classes at the University of Akron have gone entirely remotethis week.

  • Ohio State is urging students to get tested for COVID-19 before leaving for home for Thanksgiving, and is encouraging students to leave early if possible. Residence halls will close for the semester on November 25.
  • Cleveland State University recently announced it will go completely remote after November 30, although facilities on campus will remain open.
  • Kent State University planning to send students home at Thanksgiving.

Sunday, November 15

1:57 p.m. Ohio's Department of Health reported 7,853 more COVID-19 cases and eight more deaths in the last day. The state also saw 189 more hospitalizations and 17 more ICU admissions.

Saturday, November 14

1:49 p.m.  Ohio's Department of Health reported 7,715 more COVID-19 cases and 14 more deaths in the last day. The state also saw 220 more hospitalizations and 23 more ICU admissions.

Friday, November 13

1:54 p.m. Ohio has broken its daily record for COVID-19 cases a second day in a row, with 8,071 new cases in the last day. It's the first time the state has surpassed 8,000 daily cases. Ohio also reported 42 more deaths, 298 hospitalizations and 21 ICU admissions.

11:46 a.m. There are currently 229 inmates with COVID-19 in Ohio's prison system, according to the Department of Rehabilitation and Correction. Since the start of the pandemic, 111 inmates and five staffers have died from the disease, while 7,160 have tested positive.

10:09 a.m. Another 21,868 Ohioans filed claims for unemployment, according to the Department of Job and Family Services, a 3% increase from the previous week and nearly 20% higher than October figures. Ohioans also filed 260,855 continuing unemployment claims last week.

Thursday, November 12

2:00 p.m.  Gov. Mike DeWine's press conference.

  • Ohio set a new record for new cases with 7,101 reported in the last 24 hours.
  • Sixty-eight of Ohio's counties are now red and Franklin and Tuscarawas counties are on the watch list for purple level in the Public Health Advisory System.
  • DeWine said the legislature is allocating $30 million of CARES Act funding for each local health department to get $200,000. Money will also be used to hire more contact tracers.
  • DeWine announced a new online dashboard to see case data by zipcode. He also announced a dashboard with flu information.

12:26 p.m. State Sen. Tina Maharath (D-Canal Winchester) announced that she has been re-infected with COVID-19. Maharath first tested positive in August, after apparently contracting the disease at a family funeral, and called her symptoms "unbearable at times." At the time, Maharath said her sister-in-law died from COVID-19, and two other family members were hospitalized.

11:30 a.m. Cleveland Clinic is once again postponing non-essential surgeries, which require a hospital stay for two days, to free up beds for COVID-19 patients. Urgent and emergency procedures, such as those for heart, cancer and neurological cases, and outpatient procedures will continue.

Wednesday, November 11  

7:11 p.m. Gov. Mike DeWine delivered a statewide address to discuss the rise in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations.

  • The state is strengthening its face mask order, which could result in the closure of businesses that don’t enforce the wearing of masks by employees and customers
  • DeWine said the state will look into possibly closing bars, restaurants and fitness centers on Thursday, Nov. 21 if COVID-19 cases continue to rise.
  • DeWine said the state is also placing additional safety restrictions on weddings, funerals and other social gatherings. Dancing, games and open congregate areas will be prohibited at gatherings, he said.

3:04 p.m. Ohio State's football game on Saturday has been canceled due to an elevated number of COVID-19 cases within the Maryland program. Maryland, who was slated to host the Buckeyes on Saturday afternoon has had eight COVID-19 cases among players in the last seven days. The game will not be rescheduled.

1:50 p.m.  The Ohio Department of Health reported 5,874 new cases and 76 deaths. The state also reported 253 hospitalizations and 36 ICU admissions.

Tuesday, November 10

1:54 p.m. Ohio sets new daily records for most COVID-19 cases with 6,508, and 386 hospitalizations. The state also recorded 23 deaths and 39 ICU admissions.

10:13 a.m. Summit County has announced that trials would be postponed through the end of the year, while Cuyahoga County is delaying trials through December 1 amid a new surge of COVID-19.

Monday, November 9

2:00 p.m. Gov. Mike DeWine holds an impromptu coronavirus press conference to address the rise in COVID-19 hospitalizations.

  • DeWine said that "100% of the state is high-incidence" for COVID-19, and that large gatherings continue to be a major culprit for the virus' spread.
  • Dr. Bruce Vanderhoff, incoming chief medical director for the Ohio Department of Health, said that the boom in hospitalizations is causing staffing shortages at hospitals. If the spread isn't controlled, hospitals may have to once again delay less-urgent procedures in order to care for the sickest patients.

1:55 p.m. The Ohio Department of Health reported 4,706 new COVID-19 cases and seven deaths in the last day. The state also saw 154 people hospitalized and 23 ICU admissions.

Sunday, November 8

1:56 p.m. The Ohio Department of Health reported 4,541 new cases and 11 deaths in the last 24 hours. The state also reported 102 hospitalizations and eight ICU admissions.

Saturday, November 7

2:01 p.m. Ohio set a new record for number of reported cases in a single day, 5,549, a more than 500-case increase over yesterday's record. The Ohio Department of Health also reported 12 deaths, 149 hospitalizations and 14 ICU admissions.  

Friday, November 6

2:00 p.m. Ohio set new records for number of reported cases, 5,008, and reported hospitalizations, 231.

10:07 a.m. Ohio Department of Health reports more than 1,000 new COVID-19 cases among K-12 students this week for the first time since the state began tracking the numbers in September. About 35% of the nearly 2,800 schools or districts listed in Ohio’s database have reported coronavirus cases.

Thursday, November 5

2:00 p.m. Gov. DeWine's press conference.

  • After another record-breaking day for new cases, DeWine said that every county in Ohio is currently in the high incidence of spread category.
  • DeWine said that there is a record number of patients in the hospital with COVID-19, a 55% increase compared to two weeks ago, as well as a record high number of 541 people in the ICU.
  • The increase in case numbers is not because of more testing, DeWine said. The total number of tests is up 44% since Sept. 24 but the number of positive cases is up 280% in same time period.
  • DeWine announced several new appointments in the health department. Dr. Bruce Vanderhoff will be the new Chief Medical Officer at the Ohio Department of Health (ODH).
  • To replace Dr. Amy Acton, DeWine has named Stephanie McCloud as the new ODH Director.
  • Lance Himes, who has been serving as interim director of the Ohio Department of Health, will now work in the new role of Senior Deputy, overseeing the vaccine rollout and working with local health departments.
  • Kathleen Madden, the Assitant Director of the Office of Budget and Management, will now be the Chief of Staff at ODH.

1:55 p.m. Ohio set a new record for the most cases reported in one day: 4,961.

11:29 a.m. Ohio says the number of people filing initial unemployment compensation claims has spiked over last week. The Ohio Department of Job and Family Services oversees jobless claims reported Thursday that Ohioans filed 21,263 initial jobless claims last week, a 21% increase over last week. 

  • Another 265,613 continuing claims were filed as well, down just slightly from last week.
  • In total, the state has distributed more than $7.1 billion in payments to more than 833,000 Ohioans during the pandemic.

11:15 a.m. There were 74 deaths reported at Ohio’s nursing homes in the last week tied to COVID-19. That brings the total to more than 3,300 nursing home deaths since the pandemic begin, accounting for around 60% of all COVID-19 deaths in the state.

Wednesday, November 4

4:25 p.m. Gov. Mike DeWine has announced a travel advisoryfor South Dakota, Iowa, Kansas, Idaho, Wyoming, Alabama and Montana. The Ohio Department of Health is recommending that travelers self-quarantine for 14 days after leaving states with high COVID-19 positivity rates.

1:49 p.m. Ohio reports 4,071 new COVID-19 cases and 55 deaths in the last day. The state also saw 186 hospitalizations and 22 ICU admissions.

  • The state also set a new record Wednesday for most people currently hospitalized for COVID-19, with 1,982 patients.

Tuesday, November 3

1:53 p.m. Ohio has once again shattered its record for most COVID-19 cases in a single day – 4,229. The state also reported 213 more hospitalizations, close to its all-time high, and 33 more deaths.

  • The Ohio Department of Health reports that 1,960 people are currently hospitalized for COVID-19 across the state, the highest level since the pandemic began.
  • The state's seven-day average positivity rate is now up to 7%.

10:53 a.m. The Akron school board has approved a plan to start winter sports. Contact sports such as basketball and wrestling will require COVID-19 testing, while non-contact sports, such as bowling and swimming, will not.

6:30 a.m. Polls have opened around Ohio for Election Day. Voting ends at 7:30 p.m. tonight, although voters who are in line at that time are allowed to vote. Read WOSU's voting guide for more information.

  • Face masks are technically required at polling places, under Ohio's statewide mask mandate, although voters will not be turned away if they refuse to wear one.
  • Curbside voting is an option this year at every polling place in the state. If you don't feel comfortable entering the building, a bipartisan team of poll workers wearing gloves and face masks will deliver voting materials to your car.
  • Voters who have contracted COVID-19, or were recently exposed, are encouraged to vote curbside today.

Monday, November 2

2:00 p.m. Ohio's Department of Health reported 2,909 more COVID-19 cases and 37 more deaths in the last day. The state also saw 182 more hospitalizations and 23 more ICU admissions.

  • An all-time high of around 1,800 people are currently hospitalized with COVID-19, accounting for 7% of total bed capacity. 

10:56 a.m. Applications open today for two state programs offering federal CARES Act funding. The Small Business Relief Grant will give $10,000 to businesses with fewer than 25 employees. About 15,000 establishments each will receive $2,500 through the Bar and Restaurant Assistance Fund to offset the cost of a liquor permit.

9:00 a.m. Gov. Mike DeWine penned an open letterover the weekend calling on Congress to pass additional coronavirus relief funds, while urging Ohioans to take precautions to stop the spread of COVID-19.

8:28 a.m. The chief justice of the Ohio Supreme Court is urging judges to adhere to strict health precautions in their courtrooms – including mask-wearing, temperature taking and social distancing – with Ohio seeing record high coronavirus cases. Chief Justice Maureen O'Connor said Friday that judges' first consideration should be the health and safety of court employees and members of the public entering courthouses.

7:52 a.m. Ohio's Bureau of Workers' Compensation will consider a request Monday morning to release the largest rebate in state history. Gov. Mike DeWine is asking the BWC board of directors to approve a $5 billion dividend to help struggling businesses.

7:00 a.m. Today is the last day of early voting in Ohio before Election Day. In-person voting is open from 8 a.m.-2 p.m. at your county board of elections.

  • Today is also the deadline to postmark your mail-in ballot if you want it to be counted. It can be received by the election board up to 10 days after Election Day, but at this point, it may be a safer bet to deliver it to the secure ballot drop box located at each county's election board.

Read Previous Updates From August 24-November 1

Gabe Rosenberg joined WOSU in October 2016. As digital news editor, Gabe reports breaking news and edits all content for the WOSU website, as well as manages the station's social media accounts.
Michael De Bonis develops and produces digital content including podcasts, videos, and news stories. He is also the editor of WOSU's award-winning Curious Cbus project. He moved to Columbus in 2012 to work as the producer of All Sides with Ann Fisher, the live news talk show on 89.7 NPR News.
Nick Houser leads the digital media team and oversees all things digital, including wosu.org, digital content, the WOSU Public Media Mobile App, social media, enewsletters, podcasts and on-demand video.