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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's COVID Numbers Starting To Plateau Again

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Hamilton County officials said the number of new COVID-19 cases is starting to level off or slightly decrease.

In the last week, the number of positive cases in the county increased by 841. Last week it was 1,021. Two weeks ago it was 1,148.

County Health Commissioner Greg Kesterman said the new case trajectory is one reason the county was able to avoid the highest level of purple on the state's health advisory, or early warning, map.

"So, we were able to flatten that number - actually decrease that number - and we were able to go back to just level three," Kesterman said. "As you recall level three, or red, means we are still high; we see a lot of community spread still. But it also requires mask wearing which is a tool for helping us get back to yellow or to orange, which I believe that we here in Hamilton County can do."

Kesterman said hospitalizations and intensive care unit admissions both remain elevated. But in the last week there have not been any increases, which he says is very positive.

Kesterman said people need to continue to wear masks, wash their hands frequently, cover their coughs and stay home when they're sick.

"I actually believe as we head into fall, and as we start flu season and when we start to see more colds, these are basic infection prevention measures," Kesterman said. "They will make an impact on those other items as well. So, I think we're doing the right thing to help get us into fall and into winter and to keep the curve flat."

Commission Presidents Denise Driehaus said the county is at a crossroads.

"We could go the route of Florida and other states," Driehaus said. "Or we could curtail the spread and get cases headed in the right direction. While heading the wrong direction is a frightening prospect, the good news is that our destiny is in our hands."

The COVID-19 reproductive number in the county is now again below one, which means the disease is not spreading as much in the area. A number above one means the disease is spreading and more people are being infected.

Jay Hanselman brings more than 10 years experience as a news anchor and reporter to 91.7 WVXU. He came to WVXU from WNKU, where he hosted the local broadcast of All Things Considered. Hanselman has been recognized for his reporting by the Kentucky AP Broadcasters Association, the Ohio Society of Professional Journalists, and the Ohio AP Broadcasters.