Ohio health officials put rising COVID cases in perspective

Currently, 582 Ohioans are hospitalized with the virus; a substantial drop compared to the more than 6,700 who were being treated in hospitals in January.

COLUMBUS, Ohio — Officials from the Ohio Department of Health provided an outlook on the surge in COVID-19 cases in the state and across the country on Wednesday.

“Now, it is true that COVID-19 cases have increased nationally and in Ohio in recent weeks as a result of omicron and its subvariants,” Vanderhoff said.

Nationwide, the death toll from the virus hit 1 million last week, with cases rising 60% over the course of two weeks averaging 86,000 per day.

Still, Vanderhoff said it’s important to put those numbers into context, adding that the state is still doing “good” compared to the spikes in cases experienced in the winter months.

Currently, 582 Ohioans are hospitalized with the virus; a substantial drop compared to the more than 6,700 who were being treated in hospitals on January 11 during the height of the pandemic.

Over the past three weeks, the weekly average number of deaths in the state has dropped 16%.

“What this tells us is that immunity, especially from vaccines, is making a difference.”

State data shows that approximately two-thirds of eligible Ohioans have started the vaccination process. Vanderhoff said the state’s vaccination rate combined with those who have already recovered from the virus has created a “substantial level of protection against serious illness.”

The latest updated community tier map from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows that Lawrence County is the only county left in the state not yet in the ‘green’ category that is considered to have low transmission level.

“This is good news as we head into warmer weather, but we should take this opportunity to prepare for fall when more of us will be indoors, or to prepare for unforeseen changes in viral activity,” Vanderhoff said. , adding that vaccination remains the best mode of defense.

The FDA authorized the use of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine for children 5 years and older on Monday. The next step in that process is to wait for CDC approval.

“I’m confident that process is moving forward and we’ll probably have that vaccine available sometime this summer or late summer,” said Dr. Joe Gastaldo, director of infectious diseases at OhioHealth.

You can watch the full briefing in the player below:

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