Ohio's COVID-19 Case Rate Continues To Increase

[Office of Gov. Mike DeWine]

Updated: 5:04 p.m., Thursday, April 15, 2021

Ohio’s COVID-19 case rate continues to increase, with a statewide average of 200 cases per 100,000 population as of Thursday, Gov. Mike DeWine said in an afternoon briefing.

The case rate is the metric the state plans to use to decide when to lift public health orders, though the current rate is four times the 50 cases per 100,000 needed to drop all public health orders, according to the governor.

Four weeks ago, the rate was 144 cases per 100,000 population and falling enough the goal seemed to be in reach.

The governor attributed the increase in cases to the spread of new variants, particularly in the northern part of the state and in neighboring Michigan. A majority of the counties with the highest incidence of coronavirus cases per 100,000 people in the last two weeks are in the northern part of the state, including Lucas, Cuyahoga and Summit counties.

Lucas County currently has the highest coronavirus incidence, with 341 cases per 100,000. Cuyahoga County’s rate is 280 cases per 100,000 residents as of Thursday, according to the Ohio Department of Health (ODH), and all of Northeast Ohio is listed as red in the alert system.

“What we’re seeing in Ohio is a strong variant that is multiplying very quickly and is more contagious than the virus we’ve seen in the past, but we have hope, and hope is the vaccine,” DeWine said. “Vaccination is how we get out of this.”

Ohio’s mass vaccination clinic at the Wolstein Center in Downtown Cleveland, a partnership with the Federal Emergency Management Agency, is opening a satellite vaccination clinic Friday and Saturday at MetroHealth Maple Heights, administering first doses of the Pfizer vaccine.

Appointments for those 16 and older at the Maple Heights location can be made through the statewide portal by entering zip code 44137 in the search field, or with assistance from the 211 Helpline.

Thursday, Franklin County went from red to purple, the highest level in the state’s public health advisory alert system, due to a sustained increase in health care system use, including emergency visits, outpatient visits and hospital admissions. In November, Franklin County became the first county in Ohio go purple and remained at that risk level for two weeks before dropping down to red. It has remained red since.

“What we’re seeing in Franklin County, we’re seeing in many other counties in Ohio,” he said. “That is, a strong variant, a variant that is multiplying very quickly, a variant that is more contagious than what we have seen in the past.”

In the previous 24 hours, Ohio had 2,164 new COVID-19 cases, according to ODH. Hospitalizations and ICU admissions reported in the last day are both significantly above their 21-day averages, at 181 and 31, respectively.

“Our ticket to freedom is the vaccine,” DeWine reiterated. “Our ticket to a good summer is the vaccine. Our ticket to a good spring is the vaccine. It's our ticket out of what we are in now and that really is where we have to concentrate on now.”

As of Thursday, 4.3 million Ohioans have received at least one dose of COVID-19 vaccine, making 36.4 percent of the state’s population partially vaccinated, according to ODH.

Ohio has reported 154 COVID cases where patients who were fully vaccinated later got COVID. Out of those 154 cases, 14 of them resulted in hospitalizations and zero cases resulted in death – a ray of light among otherwise dark numbers reported this week, said Dr. Bruce Vanderhoff, the state’s chief medical officer.

“If we look at those numbers, they should be incredibly encouraging to us,” Vanderhoff said. “We, from the beginning, were thrilled because these vaccines appeared to be about 95 percent effective. They're proving to be more effective than that in the real world.”

ideastream Digital Editor Gayle S. Putrich contributed to this report.

Copyright 2021 WYSO. To see more, visit WYSO.

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