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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.

DeWine Warns Of Flare Up In COVID-19 Cases In Southwest Ohio

Ohio Department of Health conducting tests for COVID-19 with new testing equipment.
Ohio Department of Health
Ohio Department of Health conducting tests for COVID-19 with new testing equipment.

Gov. Mike DeWine (R-Ohio) says the state as a whole has seen a steady trend in decreasing cases of COVID-19, but he’s warning of possible trouble in southwest Ohio which is not following that trend.

Health officials are following what DeWine calls "worrisome" trend lines in the region with flare ups in COVID-19 cases in Montgomery, Greene, Clark, Warren, and Hamilton Counties.

DeWine says the state is trying to inform Ohioans about the flare up and is sending more resources to increase testing accessibility. He says another round of shutdowns or other health orders is a last resort.

"We don't want to do that unless it is a last resort. We don't want to do that, we went through that in the closing. We did things that we thought made sense and did them in a logical order. Now that we've opened most everything, that is a tougher tool to use," says DeWine. "You know I don't rule anything out, but persuading people and talking to people and giving people the facts seems to me the right thing to do to start with."

DeWine says experts are examining the cases and trying to find out more information to what might be causing the uptick in cases.

Copyright 2020 The Statehouse News Bureau

Andy Chow is a general assignment state government reporter who focuses on environmental, energy, agriculture, and education-related issues. He started his journalism career as an associate producer with ABC 6/FOX 28 in Columbus before becoming a producer with WBNS 10TV.