CLEVELAND, Ohio - First the reports of new coronavirus cases in Ohio began to slow in mid-April and now hospitalizations have begun to fall as well, according to the latest reports from the Ohio Department of Health.
Sunday’s report of 873 new cases followed by Monday’s report of 1,396 cases drove Ohio’s seven-day average for new cases to its lowest level in a little more than a month.
And the latest survey of coronavirus patients in Ohio hospitals was reported Monday at 1,238 patients, down from 1,325 a week ago. The patient count fluctuates from day to day but generally started trending down early last week.
To date, Ohio has reported 19,122 deaths, 55,813 hospitalizations and 1,065,702 cases. This means that 1-in-11 Ohioans is known to have contracted the coronavirus at some point.
Here’s a closer look at the latest trends.
A 1,238 coronavirus patients reported hospitalized Monday was up 57 from the previous day, but that followed consecutive days of the patient count dropping from 1,249 to 1,201 to 1,181. The average over the last seven days was lower than the previous week, according to the daily survey by the Ohio Hospital Association.
There were 1,300 patients as recently as April 16, before beginning to trend down. The patient count had dipped lower in March - reaching 823 on March 7 - before climbing up until the recent drop.
Even the April uptick in hospitalizations, however, paled in comparison to earlier highs, including the count of 5,308 patients in hospitals on Dec. 15.
Among Monday’s patients were 352 in intensive care units, down from 378 a week ago. The high was 1,318 on Dec. 15.
Ohio reported an average of 1,556 cases a day in the last week.
This compares with averages of 1,917, 2,066 1,973, 1,704, 1,551, 1,516 and 1,550 the last several weeks, and down from close to 6,700 a day at the end of December.
Only four times since early October has Ohio reported fewer than 1,000 cases in a single day - all Sundays when reporting lags - Sunday (873), March 21 (931), March 14 (893) and March 7 (735).
The 1,396 cases reported Monday were the lowest for a Monday since March 15.
The state reported starting vaccines for 190,908 people in the last week, a drop for the the third consecutive week. The latest number is in comparison to 268,328 400,851, 445,174, 454,155, and 431,824 the previous weeks.
The 4,581,652 vaccinations started through reporting on Monday means about 49% of Ohio’s population age 16 and up has received at least one shot. Younger people are not approved to receive vaccines.
These are estimates in part because the Ohio data for vaccines includes some people from other states such as those who work in Ohio or traveled here for shots - at least 130,356 so far - yet some Ohioans received vaccinations in other states.
The state has reported 19,122 deaths caused by the coronavirus, though this is an undercount.
The Ohio Department of Health announced on March 2 that it was dropping efforts to track deaths in a timely manner. It said the change would delay death reporting by up to six months in some cases. The health department is now awaiting details from the federal Centers for Disease Control for all deaths.
Illustrating how far the paperwork now lags, the last deaths Ohio has reported are four that occurred a week ago, on April 19.
The state has reported just 117 deaths occurring in April.
There have been 542 deaths reported so far for March, 1,336 in February, 3,644 in January and 5,473 in December.
Though Cuyahoga County has the most deaths (2,084) of any county in the state, its death rate of 1.69 per 1,000 residents is just slightly above the statewide rate of 1.62 per 1,000. The counties with the highest rates are Monroe (3 per 1,000), Putnam (2.92) and Tuscarawas (2.61).
Among the dead are at least 7,232 patients of nursing homes and other long-term care facilities, according to the last weekly update on Wednesday, April 21. This is up from 7,198 reported a week earlier.
However, the actual number is unclear. Before the state changed its death reporting methods, it had reported 7,462 nursing home deaths in early March.
The health department said Wednesday there were 214 current cases involving nursing home patients, and 300 involving nursing home staff. This was down from 291 and 319 the previous week.
In mid-December, there were 5,155 patient cases and 3,271 staff cases. Case details by nursing home can be found at this link.
The state updates school data each Thursday. It reported 1,224 new student cases last week, and 141 new staff cases across Ohio. These totals reported on April 22 cover new cases discovered from from April 12 through April 18.
A week earlier, the state reported 1,171 student cases and 146 for staff, up sharply from 635 and 119 the week before that.
School-by-school details can be found at this link.
Three-in-four of the deaths have been to people age 70 and older, breaking down this way: under age 20 (7), in their 20s (24), in their 30s (102, in their 40s (269), in their 50s (975), in their 60s (2,774), in their 70s (5,131) and at least 80 years old (9,839).
Those age 80 and up have accounted for 51% of the known coronavirus deaths, in comparison to 44% of all known Ohio deaths for all causes in 2018.
Those in their 70s have accounted for 27% of the coronavirus deaths, in comparison to 21% of all Ohio deaths in 2018 ahead of the virus.
But for hospitalizations, the cases are more spread out age-wise: under age 20 (1,390), in their 20s (2,250), in their 30s (2,989), in their 40s (4,485), in their 50s (8,136), in their 60s (12,010), in their 70s (12,939) and at least 80 years old (11,614).
Hospitalizations have decreased sharply among older age groups since the start of vaccines. Older people were the first focus of vaccine efforts.
For the deaths in which race was reported, 86% of the people are white, and 13% are Black. For total cases, 75% are white and 14% Black.
Ohio’s overall population is 82% white and 13% Black. But among Ohioans at least 70 years old - the age group accounting for three-quarters of the deaths - Ohio is 89% white and 9% Black.
The first three cases were confirmed on March 9, 2020. The total topped 100,000 on Aug. 9, 250,000 on Nov. 8, 500,000 on Dec. 8, and 1 million on March 22.
Among the cases reported to date are 169,065 listed as “probable,” those cases included by a wider variety of tests or identified through non-testing evidence. This total is up from 165,913 last week.
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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