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COVID-19 cases rising in Lucas County following the holidays

More than 20,000 new cases were just reported in Ohio over the last 24 hours.

TOLEDO, Ohio — In Lucas County, the spike in positive COVID-19 cases is proving to be a cause for concern, especially following the holiday season. 

More than 20,000 new cases were reported in the state just in the last 24 hours. The 7-day average testing positivity rate is the highest it's been since the beginning of the pandemic at 24.7%.

Toledo-Lucas County Health Commissioner Eric Zgodzinski said we can expect to see higher numbers by the end of this week following Christmas and even more next week as we're heading into New Year's Eve celebrations. 

He explained with northeast Ohio seeing some of the highest numbers right now, the Toledo area will soon follow suit. 

This is a cause for concern for some Toledo residents. 

"Yeah, it's a little scary. A lot of friends and family are in from out of town. So, you got to really be careful where you go and who you're with," Emily Berger said.

"Oh yeah, because those big gatherings," Zachary Ingalls said. "It's going to spread a lot more than it has been."

"No, I'm fairly healthy," Darrell Whatton said. "I've got a good immune system and I think that's going to win me over."

Even making the health commissioner worry.

"I'm very concerned with people getting sick. Getting into the hospitals, inundating our hospital systems," Zgodzinski said. "And unfortunately, there are still individuals who are passing away from COVID and that is definitely my concern."

He said it's because of the holiday season, the omicron variant appearing to be more transmissible and Ohioans who are still not vaccinated. 

And even with millions of Ohioans vaccinated, the pandemic is still putting a halt on people's lives, but not only during the holiday season.  

It's impacting people like Whatton who can't visit his home country of New Zealand. "I can't get into the country at the moment because of COVID," Whatton said. "They lock everything down, you got a two weeks quarantine and I've been trying to get back for a year."

Zgodzinski explained that's why we need to remain vigilant heading into this weekend. He said get tested both before and after your celebrations and wear a mask if you're gathering with others.

"You know, we've really got to learn to live with COVID, but we're going to have to take responsibility - personal responsibilities - to make sure that we don't infect somebody else," he explained. "And have them get sick or end up in the hospital or - hopefully, not happening -  passing away from COVID. That's my concern."

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