COLUMBUS, Ohio — Ohio health officials will soon report COVID-19 data on a weekly basis in response to a significant decrease in cases and hospitalizations statewide.
Ohio Department of Health director Dr. Bruce Vanderhoff made the announcement during Thursday's briefing, saying the pandemic is evolving from a pandemic to an endemic.
When COVID-19 cases peaked in January, Ohio health officials were reporting more than 2,200 cases per 100,000 residents. The state average now sits at 78, according to Vanderhoff.
"That's the lowest level we've seen since August," said Vanderhoff. "The situation is improving."
Daily COVID-19 data will no longer be reported after Sunday, Vanderhoff said. Instead, statewide cases, hospitalizations, ICU admissions and vaccination data will be reported only on Thursday beginning next week. That includes COVID-19 deaths -- previously reported on both Tuesdays and Fridays -- which will continue to have the appropriate death date attached.
The update includes data from long-term care facilities and reports from agencies like the Department of Disabilities, veterans homes and the Department of Corrections.
That data can be found on the Ohio Department of Health's COVID dashboard.
“Ohio is one of only a handful of states that is still reporting COVID-19 data daily. Even with this change, the state team will continue to monitor the trajectory of COVID-19 closely," said Vanderhoff. "The ODH team has many systems including data analysis and surveillance that will help us monitor COVID-19 activity and identify pockets of higher spread so we can work with local communities to slow the spread of the virus.”
Additionally, Vanderhoff said K-12 schools are no longer required to report positive COVID-19 tests unless the student's positive test was administered by the school. Vanderhoff added the COVID-19 School Reporting dashboard will be archived.
The briefing comes as central Ohio cities begin to lift mask mandates, citing a significant decline in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations. Columbus City Council voted to end the city’s indoor mask mandate on Monday, and Mayor Ginther was quick to sign off on the order, saying, “Together, we can put COVID-19 behind us.”
That same day, the City of Worthington passed an ordinance to end its mask mandate, effective Thursday.
Schools have also begun to drop mask restrictions, with requirements at Columbus City Schools ending earlier this week.
You can watch Thursday’s briefing in the player below: