MARION COUNTY, Ohio — New COVID-19 testing data shows dramatic increases in cases in two of Ohio's prison communities, Marion and Pickaway Counties.
Over the past week there have been 3,147 cases confirmed in the two counties, which are home to the Marion Correctional Institution and the Pickaway Correctional Institution.
To put that number in perspective, the two counties make up roughly 24.3% of the 12,919 total cases detected in Ohio since the first case was identified in early March.
And the surge in cases happened quickly. You can see from this chart that both counties reported relatively few cases each day at the beginning of this week but hundreds of cases per day by Monday.
The surge in cases saw Marion County surpass 2,000 cases before more populous counties like Cuyahoga (Cleveland) and Franklin (Columbus) Counties. Pickaway County now has the fourth most cases in Ohio, more than larger counties like Hamilton (Cincinnati) and Lucas (Toledo).
At a news conference Monday, Gov. Mike DeWine said, "The reason you are seeing spikes is because we are massively testing (in prisons)."
Dr. Amy Acton said that, fortunately, many of the cases inside the prisons are asymptomatic. She said Ohio is still "flattening the curve" and needs to be able to put out "hot spots" when they occur.
This illustration shows just how much an impact the prison outbreaks are having on statewide totals. You can see a spike in cases in the first chart over the past week. If you click ahead to the next chart, which eliminates Marion and Pickaway Counties, you see a flatter curve emerge.
In the greater Cleveland area, the daily case curve is much flatter. Although there were a high number of cases reported Monday, the weekly total looks fairly flat.