CLEVELAND, Ohio - Ohio’s coronavirus case rate has increased to near 200 cases per 100,000 residents over the last two weeks - a rate four times the level Gov. Mike DeWine has set as his test before he will lift health orders ranging from mask mandates to limited gatherings.
The official update will come from the Ohio Department of Health Thursday afternoon, but cleveland.com projects that it will be close to 199.8 cases per 100,000
This is up from a low for the year of 143.8 cases per 100,000 reported on March 18, and well above the goal of 50 per 100,000 DeWine announced March 4 as a prerequisite to lifting his health orders.
A week ago, the rate was reported at 183.7 per 100,000.
Ohio was last below 50 cases per 100,000 in June. Yet despite the recent increase, the state is far below fall and winter highs. The rate topped out at 845.5 cases per 100,000 in mid-December.
The rate is based on when people became sick, not when the cases were reported. And it excludes incarcerated individuals.
The official number released by the state likely will differ some from the cleveland.com estimate, mainly because it’s unknown how many of the recently reported cases involve incarcerated people. But in each of the last five weeks the cleveland.com projection has been within decimal points of the official number, and sometimes exactly the same.
Dr. Bruce Vanderhoff, the state’s chief medical officer, has blamed much of the increase to the spread into Ohio of the B.1.1.7 variant. This is the variant first identified in the United Kingdom.
DeWine has said Ohio is in a race to vaccinate more people to head off the variant, a race detoured somewhat this week with the pause of administering the Johnson & Johnson vaccine amid concerns over blood clots in a handful of known cases out of millions of people vaccinated.
Soon after cases began to rise in Ohio in March, so did hospitalizations.
The Ohio Hospital Association reported 1,302 coronavirus patients across the state on Wednesday, a 32% increase from 984 at the end of March. The number this year was as low as 823 on March 7. The patient count was last above 1,300 on Feb. 24, though it was once much higher - a record 5,308 on Dec. 15.
Rich Exner, data analysis editor for cleveland.com, writes about numbers on a variety of topics. Follow on Twitter @RichExner. See other data-related stories at cleveland.com/datacentral.
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