CLEVELAND — Even with winter looming, health experts explain we could be past the worst of the latest surge in positive COVID-19 cases.
New data from the Ohio Department of Health points to some signs of hope when it comes to COVID-19: Cases continue to be on the decline during the latest wave which began in July, with almost half as many new positive cases as the peak back in mid-September.
“That to me, was a little ray of sunshine,” Dr. Bruce Vanderhoff, Ohio Department of Health medical director, said. “If you look across the country, it is quite clear Delta has begun to move into a declining phase.”
A similar decline appears to also be tracking when it comes to new hospitalizations and deaths as well.
Health leaders told News 5 at its peak in September, the delta variant pushed several area hospitals to full capacity for its ICU beds as well as its other available beds.
The news of the delta variant’s perceived decline comes as Ohio's vaccination rate among eligible individuals 12 and older sits at 63.31%. Nationwide, about 75.9% of the eligible population has received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.
“The facts on the ground tell me that the vaccinated people were really not ending up in the hospital; it was the unvaccinated who were,” Vanderhoff said.
“We hope that this will be the last wave,” Lt. Governor Jon Husted added. “No one really knows. But with more people getting vaccinated, more people building natural immunity from getting COVID, we hope that this is. We know COVID will be around, but we hope it transitions from a pandemic to an endemic where it's not as impactful or dangerous in our daily lives.”
Health leaders explain their focus is now on those still unvaccinated and vulnerable to COVID-19 including pregnant women.
“There’s still people at risk of this really deadly disease,” Dr. Lisa Egbert, president of the Ohio State Medical Association said.
So far, the Ohio Department of Health reports 22,490 people have died because of COVID-19 since the pandemic began in March of 2020.