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Governor of Ohio voices concern in Huntington

Coronavirus

HUNTINGTON, WV (WOWK) — The Governor of Ohio made a rare stop in Huntington today to voice his concerns about increasing COVID-19 numbers in Southern Ohio and the tri-state area.

Governor Mike DeWine made a very brief stop at the Huntington Tri-State Regional Airport Friday afternoon specifically to talk to West Virginia news media about the spike in Coronavirus cases on both sides of the Ohio River.

The virus, he says, doesn’t recognize state borders.

“All the trendlines are going in the wrong, really in the wrong direction. And I wanted to be here to talk about it, talk about what we’re seeing, and ask for the help of the people of southern Ohio.” 

Gov. Mike DeWine, (R) Ohio

Health experts across the country are watching a second wave of COVID-19 cases rise at an alarming pace. For the tri-state area, the interconnectedness of Ohio, West Virginia, and Kentucky are raising concerns even to the highest levels of state government.

Drivers cross between Ohio, West Virginia, and Kentucky on a daily basis. (Photo Courtesy: 13 News Reporter Natalie Wadas)

“I talk to governors from throughout the midwest, I also talk to Governor Beshear in Kentucky, and you know everybody is sort of seeing the same thing. What we have is, people are sick of the virus, there’s a real fatigue, they’re tired, it’s been seven and a half months or so, but my message is the cavalry is on the way.”

Gov. Mike DeWine, (R) Ohio

DeWine says the help that is coming is a vaccine—which is now being projected to be ready by late November or December. However, in the meantime, everyone must do what they can individually to prevent community spread.

“We have the ability to slow this virus down. And the way we slow it down is by wearing a mask like this.” 

Gov. Mike DeWine, (R) Ohio
Governor Mike DeWine holds up a mask, saying it is the key to slowing the spread of the virus down. (Photo Courtesy: 13 News Reporter Natalie Wadas)

Local officials also recognize the unique challenge posed by cross-river commuting.

“We over here actually do have a role to play in controlling the outbreak over there.”

Dr. Michael Kilkenny, M.D., M.S., physician director of the Cabell-Huntington Health Department

Put another way—

“We are not the enemies of our neighbors. We need to work all together. We as a region need to realize the impact that we have and we need to stop the community spread.” 

Dr. Michael Kilkenny, M.D., M.S., physician director of the Cabell-Huntington Health Department
Commuters drive across the bridge from West Virginia into Ohio. (Photo Courtesy: 13 News Reporter Natalie Wadas)

That’s why the governor of Ohio is looking for help from the people of West Virginia, Southeastern Ohio, and Northeastern Kentucky.

“Keeping the virus down by wearing a mask is absolutely essential if we’re going to keep our economy moving and if we’re gonna save lives.” 

Gov. Mike DeWine, (R) Ohio

The governor’s visit was a brief one, but he came to the Huntington area knowing the message would get to those living on both sides of the Ohio River.

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