COLUMBUS, Ohio -The Ohio Department of Health reported 2,475 new coronavirus cases on Thursday, bringing the total number of cases during the outbreak to 1,020,041.

Thursday’s new cases are above the 21-day rolling average of 1,672.

Dr. Bruce Vanderhoff, the Ohio Department of Health’s medical director, said that after a stretch of decreasing cases, they’re now on the rise.

“We are in fact seeing increased COVID activity here in Ohio, that mirrors much of what we’re seeing in the rest of the nation: after a long and dramatic decline -- cases leveled off last week -- are rising this week.”

Genome testing of the coronavirus shows the increase is driven by mutations, especially the variant that is predominant in the U.K., he said.

Michigan, to Ohio’s north, and the New York City/New Jersey metropolitan have the highest levels of coronavirus surge due to variants. And in Ohio, the area with most of the variants is northern Ohio - from Toledo to the Mahoning Valley, Gov. Mike DeWine said during his coronavirus briefing Thursday afternoon.

On March 12, 92 coronavirus variants were identified in Ohio.

That jumped to 173 March 19. On Thursday, there were 620 variants, Vanderhoff said.

The number of deaths remained unchanged since earlier this week.

The Department of Health defines cases as those diagnosed through genetic PCR or antigen tests, as well as those diagnosed in a clinical setting, per the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s definition.

DeWine’s administration stopped reporting COVID-19 deaths daily, and is now relying on the federal government to provide figures twice a week. The last fatality report was Tuesday, when there were 18,609.

Another 59,027 Ohioans have completed their vaccine, meaning they received a second dose or the one-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine, bringing the total to just over 2 million for the first time. This represents 17.16% of the state’s population.

Other data from the Ohio Department of Health on Thursday:

-Now over 11 million PCR and molecular coronavirus tests have been conducted in Ohio, after an increase of 41,101 tests since Wednesday.

-1,039 people were hospitalized with COVID-19 in Ohio on Thursday, up 55 from Wednesday and 91 from a week ago.

-3.6% of coronavirus tests came back positive on Tuesday, the most recent day for a positivity rate. The seven-day average is 4%. Vanderhoff said this is up from about 3% a month ago.

-Of the over 1 million coronavirus cases that have been identified in Ohio, 968,057 are presumed to be recovered -- a figure that subtracts the number of people who have died with those whose symptoms began over at least 21 days ago.

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