COVID-19 in Ohio ebbs; remains at high levels

(Photo by Sharon Chischilly/Getty Images).

Despite a slow tapering of new caseloads, Ohioans continue to contract COVID-19 by the thousands.

In the closing week of 2020, state data shows about 60 Ohioans on average died from COVID-19. On the three worst days of December, more than 100 Ohioans died of the new disease.

At least 10,518 Ohioans have died of COVID-19 since March.

Most measurements of the pandemic besides deaths depict a virus down from a staggering December peak, yet still spreading at five to six times the rates seen in the Summer.

For instance, Thursday’s seven-day moving average of new cases sits just above 6,000 per day. That’s down from about 12,500 in mid-December, but well beyond a July peak closer to 1,300 new cases per day.

“The fact that it’s stabilizing is only part of the story — it’s stabilizing at very high levels,” said Dr. William Hanage, an epidemiologist at Harvard’s T.H. Chan School of Public Health, of the national picture on a call with reporters Thursday.

About 850,000 Ohioans have contracted COVID-19 during the pandemic, per state data. However, this is likely an underestimation given the likelihood of asymptomatic cases running their course undetected. Serologic data collected by the Ohio Department of Health in July suggests the case count at the time was a threefold underestimation.

“Out of any 200 Ohioans, at least 1 has tested positive for COVID during the past two weeks,” Gov. Mike DeWine said Thursday.

About 3,406 Ohioans are currently hospitalized with COVID-19. This is well below peak levels of mid-December when hospitals feared staffing crises as caregivers contracted the virus.

In July, when this number passed 1,100 ODH officials warned in a news release warned the new peak reflected the “severity and scope” of the pandemic.

More than 44,000 Ohioans have been hospitalized with COVID-19.

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