Ohio passes 500,000 total COVID-19 cases after clearing backlog of antigen tests

Cases include backlog numbers from Nov. 1 to today
Posted at 3:19 PM, Dec 08, 2020

COLUMBUS, Ohio — The Ohio Department of Health reported 25,721 new COVID-19 cases in the state today, though that number includes about 13,000 probable cases from antigen tests that had been backlogged for over a month. Ohio is now reporting a total of 510,018 COVID-19 cases since the start of the pandemic.

Gov. Mike DeWine tweeted Tuesday that the spike in cases was due to health officials finally clearing out the backlog of pending antigen tests going back to the start of November.

The backlog consisted of around 13,000 tests. Over the past few weeks, the ODH dashboard has included a note stating that there were additional tests pending and results displayed on the COVID-19 dashboard may not be accurate due to outstanding tests. As of Tuesday, that notation has been removed.

RELATED: There will be a big spike in COVID-19 cases Tuesday as ODH clears backlog of positive antigen tests

According to the ODH, when health officials initially started conducting COVID-19 cases at the start of the pandemic, they were only using PCR tests. Later, the CDC released guidance on using antigen tests, but only if certain criteria were met.

“After understanding more about antigen tests, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), changed their case definition in August allowing antigen tests to be included in case counts without additional verification,” said ODH Chief Medical Officer Dr. Bruce Vanderhoff. “ODH is now aligned with CDC’s current definition and we will begin reflecting those tests immediately in our daily reported case counts moving forward.”

The ODH said Tuesday, now that antigen tests are becoming more common and understood, ODH will be "adopting CDC definitions."

"All cases, whether confirmed or probable, from a PCR or antigen tests, will still go through the same case investigation and interview process. The adoption of new case definitions simply allows for ODH to count probable cases from antigen tests in a more timely manner, which means all Ohioans will have a more accurate, real-time understanding of the spread of COVID-19," ODH said.

RELATED: How reliable are COVID-19 tests?

The rolling 21-day average of daily cases, is 9,408. The daily case numbers include both cases confirmed by a viral test and cases that meet the CDC's definition of probable. There have been 470,721 confirmed COVID-19 cases to date, which account for 92% of total cases.

There were 2,711 new cases reported in Cuyahoga County today. This number also includes backlogged antigen tests. Cleveland reported 242 new cases and one death.

There have now been 7,103 coronavirus-related deaths across the state; 81 new deaths were reported today, higher than the 21-day average of 63.

The ODH reported 657 new hospitalizations today, with 67 ICU admissions. There are currently 5,181 COVID-19 patients in Ohio's hospitals, and 1,210 COVID-19 patients in the ICU.

Non-COVID patients are currently occupying 56.17% of the state's hospital beds, according to ODH. COVID-positive patients account for 18.81%, leaving 25.02% of beds currently available. COVID patients make up 24.66% of the state's ICU beds, non-COVID patients are occupying 54.92% of ICU beds, and 20.42% of ICU beds are currently open.

Screen Shot 2020-12-08 at 2.49.17 PM.png
Graph showing current hospitalizations of COVID-19 patients in Ohio.

As of today, 341,008 Ohioans are presumed recovered from the disease, according to the ODH.

There were 44,488 tests done on Sunday, the latest day this data from the ODH was available. Of those tests, 15.4% were positive, compared to the rolling 7-day average positivity rate, which is 16%. Click here for details on where to get a COVID-19 test in your area.

Screen Shot 2020-12-08 at 2.51.19 PM.png
Graph showing COVID-19 testing and percent positivity in Ohio.

The median age of patients is 42 with the age range for infected patients from younger than 1 year old to 109 years old.

View more COVID-19 data visualizations from News 5 here.

View more data from the ODH on their COVID-19 dashboard here.

Note: Some of the charts above are updated with new data daily, and after 24 hours, may not reflect the statistics at the time this story was published.

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