After plateau, COVID-19 trickles upward in Ohio

(Photo by Sharon Chischilly/Getty Images).

Despite an accelerating vaccination effort, COVID-19 is on an upswing in Ohio.

There are currently 1,140 Ohioans in the hospital with COVID-19, compared to 839 on March 21.

Similarly, in mid-March, about 1,400 Ohioans were contracting COVID-19 per day on average. By the end of the month, the figure hit 1,700, according to data from the Ohio Department of Health.

The seven-day average test positivity rate — portion of diagnostic tests on a given day with positive results — reached 4.3% Tuesday compared to 3% in early March.

None of these indicators are anywhere near their winter peaks. However, their ticking upward comes despite efforts to slow the coronavirus’ spread through three COVID-19 vaccines authorized for use.

About 3.77 million Ohioans are vaccine-started as of Tuesday, according to ODH data. Roughly 2.2 million of them are fully immunized.

Variants of the new coronavirus that first emerged in late 2019 are likely fueling the spread.

All three ‘variants of concern’ monitored by the CDC (B.1.1.7; B.1.351; and P.1) have now been detected in Ohio, according to agency data. Two of the variants are about 50% more transmissible than the original strain, according to the CDC.

Since March 2020, nearly 19,000 Ohioans have died from COVID-19. More than 1 million have been infected.

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