COLUMBUS, Ohio — The Ohio Department of Health reported 2,039 new COVID-19 cases in the state Wednesday, bringing the total number of cases to 173,665. It is the largest spike in single day cases reported since the start of the pandemic.
The second-highest daily case total was 1,840 cases, reported last Friday. Before that, the highest daily case total was back on July 30, when 1,733 cases were reported.
The number of new cases today is higher than the rolling 21-day average of daily cases, which is 1,282. These numbers include both cases confirmed by a viral test and cases that meet the CDC's definition of probable. There have been 163,558 confirmed COVID-19 cases to date, which account for 94% of total cases.
There were 91 new cases reported in Cuyahoga County today. Cleveland reported 25 new cases, bringing their total to 5,772.
There have now been 5,033 coronavirus-related deaths across the state, with 16 new cases reported Wednesday, the same number as the 21-day average.
The ODH reported 151 new hospitalizations Wednesday, with 17 ICU admissions. The number of hospitalizations is 32 higher than the 21-day average.
As of today, 145,969 Ohioans are presumed recovered from the disease, according to the ODH.
There were 23,581 tests done on Monday, the latest day this data from the ODH was available. Of those tests, 5.7% were positive, compared to the rolling 7-day average positivity rate, which is 4%. Click here for details on where to get a COVID-19 test in your area.
The median age of patients is 40 with the age range for infected patients from younger than 1 year old to 109 years old.
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.
Local health experts are urging people to stay the course to keep the spread of COVID-19 under control.
At University Hospitals, although there are more COVID-19 patients now than there were a month ago, Dr. Dan Simon said the health system is nowhere near capacity, and not even close to where it was at the peak of the surge earlier this year.
Still, Simon, who is the chief clinical and scientific officer of University Hospitals and president of UH Cleveland Medical Center, said the increase in cases is concerning.
“That means that we're going in the wrong direction,” Simon said.
Additionally, he said hospitalizations and ICU admissions could rise going forward since those numbers tend to lag a week or more behind new cases.
He continued to stress the importance of hand hygiene, masking, and social distancing.
“I think what we need to do now is redouble our efforts, make people understand fundamentally nothing's changed,” Simon said. “We do not have a vaccine. Our antiviral is only intravenous remdesivir. We don't have an oral pill that we can give you, a magic thing to treat you as an outpatient.”
According to Simon, UH has the ability to increase its capacity to 300 percent of normal (5,100 beds, from its normal 1,700 across the entire system) in the event of a COVID surge. He said UH still has its hospital incident command structure in place, with daily calls.
“That plan is on the shelf, ready to be dusted off if we needed to do that,” Simon said.
However, he said that means making choices, like moving patients to other hospitals within the UH system or postponing elective surgeries and procedures previously canceled earlier in the pandemic. He also said that there is no concern about running out of PPE.
Simon noted that Ohio is also seeing a lower median age for positive cases, which he attributed to schools and colleges going back.
“The problem is these younger kids don't live alone and they return to their families, and then that's where we have the problem, which is these three-generation exposures, where someone goes to a Pilates or to a spinning [class]. They’re maybe a minimally-symptomatic or low-symptomatic person. But they expose Grandma and Grandpa.”
Simon said he expected the governor to continue to be proactive if things worsen.
“I think there's a plan and I hope we don't get there,” Simon said.
He later added, “We have just tremendous confidence in the citizens of Ohio and our communities to know they do the right thing. They did the right thing last time.”
The Cuyahoga County Board of Health said it is critical for people to limit their exposure since many cases are still stemming from social gatherings, parties, weddings, and funerals.
“We start to see the numbers go down and we get a little bit more lax,” said Romona Brazile, interim co-director of prevention and wellness services at CCBH. “And then when people are around each other, again, it just spreads really easily. And people don't realize it until somebody is sick, and it's just the same story that keeps playing out over and over again.”
Brazile emphasized the importance of social distancing, wearing masks, hand hygiene, and staying home. She noted that upcoming cold weather and cold and flu season would make it “a little bit more difficult to understand what is actually causing the illness.”
“We are encouraging strongly that people get their flu shot this year because that will help to at least minimize, ‘What is this illness coming from?’ if people are protected against flu,” Brazile said.
She noted that people must be mindful, going into the holiday season, of the fact that COVID spreads easily when people are indoors, in large groups, and in close contact.
“One of the things that we knew when we started to see the cases go down, which we were very happy about, is that it doesn't take much for it to change,” Brazile said. “And we're seeing that now that it can very quickly escalate.”
Donna Skoda, the health commissioner for Summit County Public Health, said she thinks the higher number of cases is “a warning sign,” and that people must keep their guards up as colder weather and the holiday's approach.
"I think people need to realize that more than ever, even more than when we shut down bars, shut down restaurants, shut down hair salons, more than ever, we need to stay six feet apart from each other, wear a mask and do not do anything extra that you don't have to do," Skoda said.
That includes interacting with family members who do not live with you.
“Assume that every single person you come in contact with has COVID and stay away from them,” Skoda said.
Skoda said people will have to learn to live with COVID-19.
“Even if we get a vaccine tomorrow, it's going to take a long time to get it disseminated to everyone and get people vaccinated. And then you don't know the efficacy,” Skoda said, adding that trials are still underway. "We don't know if it’s gonna be like a yearly vaccine, like flu or if it's going to be something that lasts a year or two years. We don't know if it's a patch, a liquid. We don't know what it is or if you need two shots. Who knows?"
While Skoda acknowledged shutdowns and closures could help control the virus, she also said they could lead to economic devastation, particularly in the service industry.
“I would rather that people do what they're supposed to do,” Skoda said. “Stay away from each other. Stay six feet [apart]. Only make essential trips.”
Additional Coronavirus information and resources:
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Click here for a page with resources including a COVID-19 overview from the CDC, details on cases in Ohio, a timeline of Governor Mike DeWine's orders since the outbreak, coronavirus' impact on Northeast Ohio, and link to more information from the Ohio Department of Health, the Cuyahoga County Board of Health, the CDC and the WHO.
See data visualizations showing the impact of coronavirus in Ohio, including county-by-county maps, charts showing the spread of the disease, and more.
View a global coronavirus tracker with data from Johns Hopkins University.
See complete coverage on our Coronavirus Continuing Coverage page.