HUNTINGTON, WV (WOWK) — Ohio Governor Mike DeWine pressed the urgency of the coronavirus pandemic today in a barnstorming trip along the Ohio-West Virginia border.

With positive cases skyrocketing in both states, DeWine is urging residents to act now.

The Governor started early this morning in Huntington before flying on to Wheeling—the length of the two state’s border.

Governor of Ohio Mike DeWine emerges onto the tarmac at the Huntington Tri-State Airport. (Photo Courtesy: 13 News Photojournalist Chris Holtzapfel)

His message was clear—help control the spread or potentially face harsher measures.

“I’m here today to really make an appeal to the people of southern Ohio, that, ‘hey, this virus is running through southern Ohio today.’ We don’t want to shutdown, but we want to slow down.” 

Governor Mike DeWine, (R) Ohio

The Governor stopped at the Huntington Tri-State Airport one month ago to voice similar concerns. He says now things are worse, and the immediate future isn’t good.

Governor Mike DeWine says the situation in southern Ohio has gotten much worse since the spring and summer. (Photo Courtesy: 13 News Photojournalist Chris Holtzapfel)

“So a very different situation in the fall than it was in the spring and the summer. We’re averaging now somewhere between 7,500 to 8,000 cases a day. Six weeks ago, we were at a thousand cases per day.” 

Governor Mike DeWine, (R) Ohio

In an effort to curb the spread, DeWine is stepping up compliance with health guidelines.

“We have inspectors going out—starting today—will be going into retail establishments around the state.  We’re not trying to be punitive, but we have an obligation, I think, to protect the 65-year-old clerk who has to work and she’s there or he’s there and people are coming in and not wearing masks, that’s wrong.” 

Governor Mike DeWine, (R) Ohio

Echoing the Governor’s concerns was local Ohio doctor, Michael Canady.

“My advice for the holidays is to minimize your possibility of being in large social gatherings. Keep your dinners to small intimate families.” 

Dr. Michael Canady, M.D., F.A.C.S., CEO of Holzer Health System

The message of the day is clear:

“The only way we really slow it down is wearing masks, and slowing—reducing—the personal contacts.” 

Governor Mike DeWine, (R) Ohio

The governor says the inspectors will be issuing warnings to those businesses if state mandates are not being followed.