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WEEKLY COVID-19 TRENDS | Ohio's surge continues and we don't have the full picture

As of Thursday, a backlog of 12,000 unverified cases had not yet been added to this week's tally, meaning the daily case totals are likely substantially higher.
OPHASM 11.19 2
The Ohio Public Health Advisory System Map on Nov. 19, 2020.

COLUMBUS — COVID-19 cases continue to explode in Ohio, and Ohioans don't even have a full accounting of how bad this past week was. 

The Ohio Department of Health has provided incomplete COVID-19 case data since Wednesday. 

During Thursday's briefing, Gov. Mike DeWine explained a backlog of 12,000 unverified cases has not yet been added to the total tally this week, meaning the daily case totals are likely substantially higher.

Between Nov. 15 and Nov. 21, Ohio reported 50,721 new confirmed cases of COVID-19. It's the sixth week in a row the state has set a new weekly record.

  • Oct. 11 to Oct. 17: 12,047 cases
  • Oct. 18 to Oct. 24: 14,717 cases
  • Oct. 25 to Oct. 31: 18,828 cases
  • Nov. 1 to Nov. 7: 28,815 cases 
  • Nov. 8 to Nov. 14: 42,719 cases
  • Nov. 15 to Nov. 21: 50,721 cases  

It’s no longer possible to dismiss the surge as the result of increased testing. 

The state also set a new record for most hospitalizations in a single week; 2,142 Ohioans were hospitalized last week for COVID-19. Furthermore, this week's death toll was the highest it's been since mid-May, when state COVID-19 deaths peaked. In terms of the coming week, with 5,996 confirmed or suspected COVID-19 deaths reported Sunday, the state should surpass 6,000 deaths on Monday.

Meanwhile, the state's average test positivity rate has more than quadrupled since mid-September. On Sept. 24, the seven-day positivity average hit a low of 2.7 percent. On Friday, the average was  13.5 percent, up from 12.1 percent Nov. 13 and 8.9 percent Nov. 6.

Nov. 15 to Nov. 21 in numbers

  • Of Ohio’s 325,611 total reported confirmed cases as of Nov. 21, 95,941 are presumed to be active infections.

  • There have been 2,142 new hospitalizations; a total of 24,218 people have been hospitalized as of Nov. 21.

  • Between Nov. 15 and Nov. 21, 190 COVID-19 deaths were reported. The state reported 5,602 total confirmed deaths Nov. 21.

  • Ohio is reporting 17,837 people have recovered from the virus between Nov. 15 and Nov. 21. The state reported 224,068 total recovered cases Nov. 21. 

Ohio Public Health Advisory System map

On Thursday, DeWine unveiled an updated Ohio Public Health Advisory map that appeared to show Ohio bleeding: All but 15 counties have the Level 3 "red" designation.

For the first time, the “purple” designation was used — for Franklin County, home to Columbus. The spread is so rampant that no counties are in Level 1 or "yellow."

As of Thursday, all of Ohio's 88 counties are considered to have a high incidence of virus transmission; these are counties that have seen more than 100 cases per 100,000 residents in the past two weeks. 

During Thursday's briefing, state healthcare leaders agree the worst is yet to come. 

"If I were to use an analogy, I would say what we liken this to is a tsunami," said Cheryl Herbert, senior vice president at Ohio Health. "The forecasters told us it's coming. We're feeling the early wave. If you knew that a storm surge of epic proportions was headed in your direction, you would evacuate. You would leave the area. You would run away. Health care workers cannot evacuate."

DeWine Tuesday announced a statewide curfew from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m., starting Thursday, Despite the dire warnings that hospitals around the state are nearing capacity, DeWine continues to preach "slow down, not shutdown," leaving local leaders to take matters into their own hands. 

As of Thursday night, Cuyahoga, Franklin, Lucas, Medina and Montgomery counties, which encompass Cleveland, Columbus, Toledo and Dayton, have issued stay-at-home advisories, meaning about 32 percent of Ohioans are living in a county that has formally urged them to stay home. 

These "advisories" are really not more than strong suggestions. But they are the best local governments can do.

Surge in the Valley

During a stop at Youngstown-Warren Regional Airport Wednesday, DeWine said, "The Mahoning Valley is on fire. 

As of Thursday, Mahoning, Trumbull and Columbiana counties are all "red" on the state's coronavirus alert map. Each Mahoning Valley county is also considered to have a high incidence of coronavirus spread. 

All three counties meet the indicator for new cases for capita. In the last two weeks: 

  • Mahoning County reported 1,285 new cases or 561.91 cases per 100,000 people
  • Trumbull County reported 1,140 new cases or 575.83 cases per 100,000 people
  • Columbiana County reported 523 new cases or 513.33 cases per 100,000 people

Mahoning County now meets four of the state's seven risk indicators for coronavirus spread: new cases per capita; increasing numbers of new cases; the proportion of new cases occurring outside group settings such as long-term care or correctional facilities; and increasing emergency department visits for COVID-19.

Trumbull County meets five risk indicators: new cases per capita; increasing numbers of new cases; the proportion of new cases occurring outside group settings such as long-term care or correctional facilities; increasing outpatient visits for COVID-19; and a sustained increase in emergency room visits.

Columbiana County meets four risk indicators: the number of new cases per capita; a sustained increase in new cases; the proportion of cases not in a group setting such as a long-term care or correctional facility; and a sustained increase in emergency room visits.

Testing

  • The volume of virus testing statewide decreased this week after reaching an all-time peak on Nov. 13. 

  • The average percent of positive tests continues an upward trend that began Sept. 24, when positivity was at an all-time low.

The seven-day moving average for positive tests was 13.5 percent on Friday, the highest since April 25 — when only 4,197 tests were administered — and more than quadruple the average 2.7 percent reported on Sept. 24, the lowest since the pandemic began. That average percent peaked on April 20 at 23.6 percent.

Coronavirus week by week

Here's a breakdown of how each complete week of the pandemic has looked like in Ohio so far. Data in bold reflect the peaks in new cases, deaths, hospitalizations and ICU admissions. 

March 15 to March 21

  • New cases: 221
  • New deaths: 3

March 22 to March 28

  • New cases: 1,159
  • New deaths: 22
  • New hospitalizations: 261
  • New ICU admissions: 123 

March 29 to April 4

  • New cases: 2,333
  • New deaths: 77
  • New hospitalizations: 662
  • New ICU admissions: 203

April 5 to April 11

  • New cases: 2,448
  • New deaths: 140
  • New hospitalizations: 853
  • New ICU admissions: 246

April 12 to April 18

  • New cases: 3,752
  • New deaths: 192
  • New hospitalizations: 660
  • New ICU admissions: 188

April 19 to April 25

  • New cases: 5,044
  • New deaths: 237
  • New hospitalizations: 596
  • New ICU admissions: 178

April 26 to May 2

  • New cases: 3,554
  • New deaths: 279
  • New hospitalizations: 581
  • New ICU admissions: 128

May 3 to May 9

  • New cases: 4,023
  • New deaths: 264
  • New hospitalizations: 604
  • New ICU admissions: 134

May 10 to May 16

  • New cases: 3,276
  • New deaths: 243
  • New hospitalizations: 570
  • New ICU admissions: 100

May 17 to May 23

  • New cases: 3,452
  • New deaths: 299
  • New hospitalizations: 567
  • New ICU admissions: 129

May 24 to May 30

  • New cases: 3,351
  • New deaths: 182
  • New hospitalizations: 574
  • New ICU admissions: 119

May 31 to June 6

  • New cases: 2,769
  • New deaths: 210
  • New hospitalizations: 449
  • New ICU admissions: 102

June 7 to June 13 

  • New cases: 2,485
  • New deaths: 176
  • New hospitalizations: 404
  • New ICU admissions: 104

June 14 to June 20 

  • New cases: 3,169
  • New deaths: 136
  • New hospitalizations: 337
  • New ICU admissions: 79

June 21 to June 27

  • New cases: 4,907
  • New deaths: 101
  • New hospitalizations: 423
  • New ICU admissions: 83

June 28 to July 4 

  • New cases: 6,519
  • New deaths: 96
  • New hospitalizations: 487
  • New ICU admissions: 136

July 5 to July 11

  • New cases: 7,840 
  • New deaths: 123
  • New hospitalizations: 659
  • New ICU admissions: 116

July 12 to July 18

  • New cases: 9,356
  • New deaths: 95
  • New hospitalizations: 743
  • New ICU admissions: 143

July 19 to July 25 

  • New cases: 9,050
  • New deaths: 164
  • New hospitalizations: 632
  • New ICU admissions: 126

July 26 to Aug. 1

  • New cases: 8,484
  • New deaths: 207
  • New hospitalizations: 785
  • New ICU admissions: 138

Aug. 2 to Aug. 8

  • New cases: 7,453
  • New deaths: 150
  • New hospitalizations: 569
  • New ICU admissions: 97

Aug. 9 to Aug. 15

  • New cases: 7,345
  • New deaths: 150
  • New hospitalizations: 784
  • New ICU admissions: 113

Aug. 16 to Aug. 22

  • New cases: 6,117
  • New deaths: 148
  • New hospitalizations: 568
  • New ICU admissions: 109

Aug. 23 to Aug. 29

  • New cases: 6,778
  • New deaths: 150
  • New hospitalizations: 539
  • New ICU admissions: 78

Aug. 30 to Sept. 5

  • New cases: 8,168
  • New deaths: 127
  • New hospitalizations: 520
  • New ICU admissions: 80

Sept. 6 to Sept. 12

  • New cases: 6,374
  • New deaths: 149
  • New hospitalizations: 476
  • New ICU admissions: 56

Sept. 13 to Sept. 19 

  • New cases: 6,347
  • New deaths: 198
  • New hospitalizations: 466
  • New ICU admissions: 87

Sept. 20 to Sept. 26

  • New cases: 5,871
  • New deaths: 123
  • New hospitalizations: 435
  • New ICU admissions: 72

Sept. 27 to Oct. 3

  • New cases: 7,221
  • New deaths: 178
  • New hospitalizations: 550
  • New ICU admissions: 72

Oct. 4 to Oct. 10

  • New cases: 8,872
  • New deaths: 72
  • New hospitalizations: 620
  • New ICU admissions: 106

Oct. 11 to Oct. 17

  • New cases: 12,047
  • New deaths: 70
  • New hospitalizations: 654
  • New ICU admissions: 114

Oct. 18 to Oct. 24

  • New cases: 14,717
  • New deaths: 137
  • New hospitalizations: 997
  • New ICU admissions: 166

Oct. 25 to Oct. 31 

  • New cases: 18,828
  • New deaths: 92
  • New hospitalizations: 1,126
  • New ICU admissions: 154

Nov. 1 to Nov. 7 

  • New cases: 28,815
  • New deaths: 189
  • New hospitalizations: 1,263
  • New ICU admissions: 146

Nov. 8 to Nov. 14

  • New cases: 42,719
  • New deaths: 190
  • New hospitalizations: 1,681
  • New ICU admissions: 182

Nov. 15 to Nov. 21 

  • New cases: 50,721
  • New deaths: 235
  • New hospitalizations: 2,142
  • New ICU admissions: 207


Jess Hardin

About the Author: Jess Hardin

Jess Hardin is a reporter for Mahoning Matters. She grew up in Pittsburgh and last worked at The Vindicator. Jess graduated from Georgetown University.
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