COLUMBUS — As each day of social distancing and stay at home orders continue during the coronavirus pandemic, many wonder when Ohio will hit peak and descend. According to the latest forecast models from the Ohio State University, the downward curve in COVID-19 cases could carry into June—news that Ohio Department of Health Director Dr. Amy Acton was sorry to share as many are looking for a time table to return to daily life.
"I didn’t mean to ruin summer for all you folks when I said yesterday that I couldn’t give you a complete hope about summer, but I do want you to have a realistic sense that they are anticipating a peak somewhere between the end of April and mid May ... thanks to all of your efforts, looking more all the time like this blue curve, but as you can see that peak stretches out," Acton said during Thursday's briefing.
Acton said even when we hit the peak, it will be a slow decline down from the curve, taking us well into June.
"At that time, it won’t just be one day where it then falls away, it will be day after day of a lot of hospitalizations," said Acton, who will look for signs for when we can come out of this as soon as possible.
Acton again reiterated the importance of social distancing and its role in slowing the spread of the coronavirus, particularly as it gives hospitals time to prepare for the surge.
She mentioned a quote that she read when thinking about social distancing and Ohio's efforts thus far in the fight against COVID-19.
“It spreads quickly but it make itself known slowly,” Acton read.
With peak likely going into June, Acton said there will need to be several things in place before the stay at home order, which was extended until May 1, can end, including:
- Ubiquitous Testing— so there is a better idea of who is infected with the virus. This will improve current modeling.
- Hospitals will need to be at a place where they are stabilized and have all the equipment they need because people continue to get sick with this.
- Really robust contact tracing and ability to identify someone right away when they are ill or when they have been exposed so we can isolate them.
- Need to see the number of cases low, nearly at zero, and stabilized
Acton understands that while peak may go into June, she encouraged everyone to get outside and find something positive to do, at a safe distance of course.
"We’re not saying all of summer is lost to us. It certainly isn’t and I hope you’re getting out there and enjoying this beautiful weather in ways that are safe that we talk about."
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