COVID Update | March 3, 2022
- Published: March 3, 2022
As of last week, 10 of Ohio’s 88 counties dropped below the threshold for “high” COVID-19 incidence, measured at 100 or more new cases per 100,000 residents over two weeks, according to the latest data released by the Ohio Department of Education, or ODH, on Thursday, Feb. 24.
The continuing decline in case numbers across the state is good news, ODH Executive Director Dr. Bruce Vanderhoff said during an online press conference last week.
He noted that new case numbers have fallen more than 90% since mid-January — the peak of the latest surge fueled primarily by the Omicron variant — from more than 20,000 new cases a day to fewer than 1,500 a day last week.
Likewise, total hospitalizations have fallen from a record high of 6,749 on Jan. 10 to “their lowest level since August,” according to the doctor. COVID-related hospitalizations across the state stood at 1,103 as of Monday, Feb. 28.
The decline in hospitalizations has allowed the end of the Ohio National Guard’s temporary deployment, with guard members on Tuesday, Feb. 22, leaving the last two medical facilities they were supporting, Vanderhoff reported. The original mission, implemented by the governor two months ago, sent 2,000 guard members to 62 medical facilities and 18 testing sites across the state.
“This is all wonderful news and a welcome relief for us,” Vanderhoff said, adding a caution: “Let’s keep in mind, however, that while we are steadily heading in the right direction, Omicron is not quite done threatening us yet.”
He noted that 50 or more cases per 100,000 residents is still considered “substantial” community transmission, and no county in the state is below that threshold.
“The fact is, COVID is still a presence in Ohio,” Vanderhoff said. “The data still point us toward caution.”
While the ODH continued to urge caution, the Centers for Disease Control, or CDC, last week updated county guidance on wearing a mask indoors based on three community factors:
The number of people with COVID-19 admitted into local hospitals in the last week;
The number of hospital beds being used by COVID-19 patients; and
The number of new cases the county has had in the last week.
If those factors combined are considered high, the CDC recommends wearing a mask indoors. If determined to be medium, or low, the CDC has lifted the mask recommendation. Greene County, while still high in the number of cases per 100,000 residents, is currently considered at a medium community level by the CDC’s revised factoring.
• The state’s number of new cases tallied during the week of Sunday, Feb. 20, through Saturday, Feb. 26, moved from 899 reported on the 20th to 1,471 at week’s end. 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 decreased daily from 1,785 on Feb. 20 to 1,244 on Feb. 26.
• The state reported 748 new COVID-19 hospital admissions for the week of Feb. 20–26, compared to 968 the week before.
• While other numbers were falling, the number of COVID-related deaths in Ohio made a dramatic leap to 1,086 for the week of Feb. 20–26, compared with 488 the week before. The total number of deaths in the state since the beginning of the pandemic was 36,580 as of Feb. 26.
• Looking at the number of new cases per 100,000 residents in a two-week period, data which is released each Thursday, the state’s average of the counties’ latest totals was 160.7 per 100,000 residents, compared to the previous week’s 256 average.
• Like the state as a whole, Greene County also experienced a decrease in its per 100,000 total, with 164.6 as of Feb. 20, compared to 318.5 as of Feb. 17. Greene County’s latest numbers put it at 55th among Ohio’s 88 counties. Lawrence County, in southern Ohio, was at the top with 812.3, compared to more than 1,200 the week before. For the first week this year, no county topped 1,000. Holmes County, in east central Ohio, was at the bottom with 61.4 cases per 100,000 residents.
• The total number of new cases in Greene County for the week of Feb. 20–26 was 220, compared to 274 the week before. The 45387 ZIP code accounted for three of the new cases this past week, compared to four the week before.
• New hospital admissions in Greene County also fell over the week of Feb. 20–26, numbering 14, compared with 22 new admissions the week before. However, the reported number of deaths in the county last week was 16, compared with three the week before.
• In Yellow Springs, the public schools reported seven positive cases as of Friday, Feb. 25, up from four cases the week before. Six of the most recent cases were among Mills Lawn Elementary School students, with one case being among district staff. Quarantining, in addition to those seven, were three students from the middle/high school and one student from the elementary school.