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Ohio health officials give perspective to recently reported rise in COVID cases

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

COLUMBUS, Ohio — Officials with the Ohio Department of Health provided perspective on rising COVID-19 cases in the state and nationwide Wednesday. 

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

Nationwide, the virus’ death toll reached 1 million last week, with cases rising 60% over the course of two weeks for an average of 86,000 per day.

Even so, Vanderhoff said it’s important to put those numbers into context, adding the state is still doing “well” in comparison to the case spikes experienced in the winter months. 

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

Over the last three weeks, the weekly average of deaths in the state has declined 16%. 

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

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

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

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

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

“I feel confident that that process is going forward and that we will likely have that vaccine available sometime this summer, or late summer,” said Dr. Joe Gastaldo, director of infectious diseases with OhioHealth. 

You can watch the full briefing in the player below: 

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