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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 Cases Decrease, But Community Must 'Continue To Be Careful'

Hamilton County Commission (screenshot from Dec. 30, 2020 COVID-19 Briefing)
For the previous week, cases seem to be in a sharp decline compared to previous weeks.

Weekly COVID-19 cases in Hamilton County continue to decrease.

Over the past week, less than 3,000 new cases have been reported. That’s a sharp decrease from the previous week, where nearly 4,000 were reported.

During Wednesday's COVID-19 briefing, Health Commissioner Greg Kesterman said these new cases are being reported as the county increases the amount of COVID-19 testing.

"The decreases that we are seeing are most likely truly attributed to people making adjustments in their behavior," Kesterman said.

Kesterman said that while some of the metrics are looking good for the region, the county is still a long way from safety.

"We as a community have to continue to be careful," Kesterman said. "Tomorrow is New Year's Eve and please continue to make adjustments to your plans. Celebrate the close of 2020 in a way that will let us continue to leave the pandemic of 2020 behind us."

Kesterman also said the regional testing program, Test and Protect, will continue throughout 2021.

Commission President Denise Driehaus said that 1 in 16 people in Hamilton County have contracted COVID-19 since the beginning of the pandemic.

More than 50,000 people have tested positive for COVID-19 in Hamilton County during the pandemic. More than 2,000 have been hospitalized and more than 400 have died.

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