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As a new strain of coronavirus (COVID-19) swept through the world in 2020, preparedness plans, masking policies and more public policy changed just as quickly. WVXU has covered the pandemic's impact on the Tri-State from the very beginning, when on March 3, 2020, Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine barred spectators from attending the Arnold Sports Festival in Columbus over concerns about the virus, even though Ohio had yet to confirm a single case of COVID-19.

Hamilton County COVID-19 Cases 'Plateau A Bit' With Nearly 4,000 Cases Reported

Despite a dip in cases and in the 7-day average, nearly 4,000 new COVID-19 cases have been reported in the last week.

At least 3,865 new COVID-19 cases have been confirmed in Hamilton County since last week. On Thanksgiving Eve, the county's health commissioner said he's worried about a skyrocket of cases in the coming weeks.

Currently, 650 COVID-19 patients are in the region's hospitals, with no signs showing that hospitalizations are slowing down. Even with a dip in COVID cases from last week, cases are expected to rise following the Thanksgiving holiday going into the Christmas season. Health Commissioner Greg Kesterman attributed this to poor community behavior.

"It's clearly a result of us as a community taking a break from what we've been advised to do and to hunker down and to be careful," Kesterman said. "So as I look to tomorrow, I am scared that we will see a skyrocket of cases as a result of behavior on Thanksgiving that can lend for the spread of COVID-19."

Credit Hamilton County Commission (screenshot from Nov. 25, 2020 COVID-19 Briefing)
Hamilton County Commission (screenshot from Nov. 25, 2020 COVID-19 Briefing)
Hospitalizations within the 14 county region show no signs of slowing down.

Kesterman said it is too soon for the community to let its guard down, especially since the spread of the virus is still high.

"I'm asking each one of you to make one additional step in your daily lives to help slow the spread," Kesterman said. "There's some basic things we've been talking since the beginning of the pandemic, like wearing a mask. Maybe wear that mask in spots you wouldn't have normally."

Looking at just two weeks of data, Commission President Denise Driehaus said the county's cases have "plateaued a bit."

"We've plateaued at a really high rate unfortunately, but at least we have plateaued," Driehaus said. "This week was better than last week. Things change quickly as you all know and behaviors drive all of this."

Hamilton County is expected to break 30,000 cases of COVID-19 by Thanksgiving. At least 372 people have died from the virus within the county since the beginning of the pandemic.

Cory Sharber attended Murray State University majoring in journalism and political science and comes to Cincinnati Public Radio from NPR Member station WKMS.