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Gov. Mike DeWine urges Ohioans to reconsider Halloween gatherings amid coronavirus surge; Ohio Dept. of Health issues guidance for Trick-or-Treating

DeWine says he will begin meeting with leaders from Ohio's counties to discuss how they can work together to beat the virus.

CLEVELAND — As Ohio continues to see a spike in coronavirus cases, Governor Mike DeWine is urging the state's citizens to reconsider their behavior. On Tuesday, Ohio Gov. DeWine offered guidance for counties currently experiencing surging coronavirus trends.

The Governor said Tuesday that all Ohioans should be wearing a mask when out in public or with friends, keeping a safe distance from others, washing their hands often and keep buildings well-ventilated. As for those living in a high incidence county -- which currently includes 82 of Ohio's 88 counties, DeWine recommended the following measures in order to help slow the spread of the coronavirus:

  • Reconsider hosting or attending gatherings of any size
  • Cancel events and do not attend Halloween parties
  • Wear masks both inside and outside in situations where social distancing is not possible
  • Individuals who are not feeling well should stay home
  • Work from home, if possible

Gov. DeWine also said that due to the nature of the coronavirus in Ohio, which is now community spread, he is asking leaders in each of the state's counties to take inventory of where they are in the battle. He also said he will begin meeting with the counties to discuss how they can work together to beat the virus.

“Our problem is community spread. And because 82 of our counties are high incidence counties, I am today asking leaders in every single county to redouble your efforts,” said Gov. DeWine. “Now though is the time to reevaluate in each single community, every county, exactly what you are doing. And so I’m asking you to pull together that group of leaders in the community drawn from all different parts of the community. Each community really needs to reassess right now, what it is doing and what it can do in the future.”

Meantime, the Ohio Department of Health issued guidance for trick-or-treaters.

To lower risk, consider safer, socially distant ways to celebrate, such as:

  • Holding a drive-through or drive-in trick-or-treat event, with children in costume and face coverings staying in cars and collecting treats from individuals spaced at least six feet apart.
  • Holding drive-by costume or car-decorating contests with judges who are physically distanced.
  • Leaving treats in the mailboxes of friends and neighbors.
  • Decorating your home and hide treats as an alternative to trick-or-treating.
  • Holding costume parties or pumpkin carving events or contests online, such as by video conference.
  • Always wear a face covering and stay six feet away from people who are not from your household, whether trick-or-treating, passing out treats, or attending attractions or events. Stay home if you are sick. (NOTE: Face coverings should never be placed on children younger than 2 or anyone who cannot easily remove them.)
  • Carry hand sanitizer and use it often, especially after coming into contact with frequently touched surfaces and before eating candy.
  • If taking your children trick-or-treating, limit the number of houses you visit and ask your children to stay as far from treat-givers as possible. For small children, consider holding the bag for them.
  • Wipe off candy wrappers with sanitizing wipes when you arrive home. (NOTE: Never wipe unpackaged food with wipes.)
  • Allow children to eat only factory-wrapped treats. Avoid homemade treats made by strangers.
  • Allow If your child is at greater risk of complications from COVID-19, contact your doctor before allowing participation in Halloween activities.
  • For trick-or-treating, reach out to neighbors to discuss ways to ensure six-foot social distancing, how candy can most safely be distributed, and the need for face coverings.
  • Refrain from having children select their own treats from a bowl/common container or set up a hand-sanitizing station. Consider placing treats on porch steps or a table in the driveway with a sign asking children to take only one. Or use other creative ways to distribute treats, such as using a candy “slide” made of PVC pipe, or hanging treats from a wall or fence.

DeWine's comments come after a week in which Ohio repeatedly set new records for daily highs of new confirmed and probable coronavirus cases. On Tuesday, Ohio reported 2,509 new coronavirus cases, 198 new hospitalizations, 20 ICU admissions and 22 new deaths.

RELATED: COVID-19 in Ohio: Up-to-date case numbers & trends as of Oct. 27

“It is communities working together that are going to make the difference,” said Gov. DeWine. “This is how we will beat this enemy. We have a common enemy and that is this virus and it is a virus that the trendlines will not change unless we change them. If we continue to do the same things we've been doing we’re going to get the same results.”

Later this week, Ohio could see its first counties reach Level 4 "purple" on the state's public health advisory system. 

Stay with 3 News for updates.

You can watch Gov. DeWine's Tuesday briefing in the player below.

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