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Photo: CDC/Dr. Fred Murphy, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Public Health; public domain.

COVID Update | Jan. 27, 2022

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While COVID-19 case numbers continue to be historically high, there is some indication that Ohio is rounding a bend in the pandemic’s Omicron-variant-fueled surge, according to Dr. Bruce Vanderhoff, director of the Ohio Department of Health, or ODH.

In a press conference streamed online Thursday, Jan. 20, Vanderhoff reported that the Cleveland area, where case numbers have been the state’s highest, had seen a drop — including a 24% reduction in COVID-related hospital admissions — over the previous 10 days.

“Thankfully, we are seeing some areas of improvement,” Vanderhoff said.

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Still, Ohio’s number of COVID-related deaths during the week of Jan. 16–22 reached another new weekly high at 1,065, compared with 850 the week before, and 625 the week before that, according to the ODH. The total number of deaths in the state since the beginning of the pandemic was 31,987 at week’s end.

Although the northeast part of the state is seeing lower numbers, an increasing number of new cases are moving south, Vanderhoff said.

In the prior week, the “southwest region of Ohio reported a 14% increase and the western Ohio region a 13% increase in ICU admissions for COVID-19” compared to the week before, he said.
While the decrease in numbers in northeast Ohio is encouraging, the state is still averaging a “staggering” 22,000 new cases every day, Vanderhoff said. He also noted that other variants could arise and pose problems in the future.

Vaccination remains an important course of action in staying safe, he said, noting that more than 90% of Ohioans hospitalized for the virus have been unvaccinated. More than 40% of Ohioans who are eligible for COVID vaccines are yet to be vaccinated, according to the ODH.

At-home tests have been difficult to find during the recent surge. Repeating information reported in the ODH’s Jan. 13 press conference, Vanderhoff said the state had received “only a fraction” of 1.2 million home kits ordered for January. He added that he anticipates receiving 400,000 tests soon, and those will go to Ohio’s K–12 schools and colleges and universities. Once more are available, tests will be given again to local libraries and health departments for free distribution to the public.

• The daily numbers of new cases in the state tallied during the week of Sunday–Saturday, Jan. 16–22, fluctuated around 20,000, with the lowest report — 15,077 — on Tuesday, Jan. 18, and the highest — 26,117 — on Sunday, Jan. 16. The seven-day running average offers a more consistent snapshot of the current situation by averaging newly reported daily cases from seven days in a row. That average reached a new high on Jan. 16 at 27,840, but had dropped to 19,750 by the end of the week.

• The state reported 2,556 new COVID-19 hospital admissions for the week of Jan. 16–Jan. 22, compared to 2,473 new admissions the week before. And after several weeks with total hospitalizations at over 6,000 across the state, the number dropped into the 5,000s last week, hitting 5,362 on Jan. 22.

• A frequently cited measure is new case numbers per 100,000 residents, which represents a two-week average. The ODH reports its updated figures each Thursday, and the latest report from Jan. 20 shows a continuing rise to a 2,154.8 average compared to 1,883.8 the week before.

• Greene County also saw a further rise, surpassing the state average, in its per 100,000 figures to 2,543.6 as of Jan. 20, compared to 1,453.2 per 100,000 county residents as of Jan. 13. Greene County’s latest figures put it at 28th among Ohio’s 88 counties. Pike County, in the south central part of the state, was at the top at 3,409.9. Ten counties reported case averages of over 3,000 per 100,000 residents; 47 surpassed 2,000; and 28 had more than 1,000. Holmes County, in the heart of Ohio’s Amish country, had the lowest average for the sixth week in a row, with 687 compared to 536.9 the week before. An average of 100 or more cases per 100,000 is considered a “high” incidence rate.

• The total number of new cases in Greene County for the week of Jan. 16–22 was 2,673, compared to 2,704 the week before. The 45387 ZIP code accounted for 72 of the new cases this past week, compared to 65 the week before.

• New hospital admissions in Greene County totaled 32 for the week of Jan. 16–22, compared to 20 the week before and 24 the week before that. The reported number of deaths in the county last week was 19, compared with seven the week before.

• In Yellow Springs, the public schools reported 17 positive cases as of Friday, Jan. 21, compared with 24 the week before. Nine of last week’s cases were among middle/high school students, four were Mills Lawn students and four were district staff. An additional 24 students and two staff were in quarantine, with 14 students from the middle/high school and 10 from Mills Lawn.

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