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Ohio's first coronavirus cases were announced two years ago

 Former Ohio Department of Health Director Dr. Amy Acton points at a chart
Andy Chow
Statehouse News Bureau
Former Ohio Department of Health Director Dr. Amy Acton points at a chart March 11, 2020, as she talks about "flattening the curve" of COVID patients so hospitals aren't overwhelmed.

Two years ago today, the coronavirus officially arrived in Ohio.

While current hospitalizations are finally down to levels where they were this past summer before the Delta variant hit, there have been more than 2 million confirmed cases of COVID in those two years, with some Ohioans infected more than once.

"This afternoon we learned that three Ohioans have tested positive for COVID-19," said Gov. Mike DeWine March 9, 2020.

For about a week he’d been doing daily press conferences that some called “Wine with DeWine.” But those events got serious quickly.

"From what we see around the world and the United States, this disease will for a period, will for a period, significantly disrupt our lives," DeWine said.

In the next two weeks, K-12 schools were closed, public events with more than 100 people were banned, nursing homes and psychiatric hospitals were shut down to visitors. Sports stopped, bars and restaurants were closed, and the polls shuttered for the March primary as mail in voting was extended, and the first COVID death in Ohio was recorded March 20.

Since then, there have been 37,146 COVID deaths in Ohio. That includes 16,201 people in Ohio who have died of COVID since Labor Day 2021.

That total of COVID deaths in Ohio is about the same as the population of Hilliard. Or it’s the total of the populations of Maple Heights and Marietta. Or Oxford plus Lyndhurst. Or all the residents of Medina and Coshocton added together.

That’s also more than the capacity of Progressive Field, or of Ohio State’s Value City Arena and Nationwide Arena in Columbus put together.

Here's a timeline of COVID-19 in Ohio, from the first suspected cases to the start of vaccines in late 2021.
Copyright 2022 The Statehouse News Bureau. To see more, visit The Statehouse News Bureau.

Karen is a lifelong Ohioan who has served as news director at WCBE-FM, assignment editor/overnight anchor at WBNS-TV, and afternoon drive anchor/assignment editor in WTAM-AM in Cleveland. In addition to her daily reporting for Ohio’s public radio stations, she’s reported for NPR, the BBC, ABC Radio News and other news outlets. She hosts and produces the Statehouse News Bureau’s weekly TV show “The State of Ohio”, which airs on PBS stations statewide. She’s also a frequent guest on WOSU TV’s “Columbus on the Record”, a regular panelist on “The Sound of Ideas” on ideastream in Cleveland, appeared on the inaugural edition of “Face the State” on WBNS-TV and occasionally reports for “PBS Newshour”. She’s often called to moderate debates, including the Columbus Metropolitan Club’s Issue 3/legal marijuana debate and its pre-primary mayoral debate, and the City Club of Cleveland’s US Senate debate in 2012.