Ohio reports 41,455 new COVID-19 cases, including backlog

The Ohio Department of Health on Friday reported 41,455 new COVID-19 cases in the past 24 hours, which would be far and away an all-time record for new cases in a single day — but the report includes backlogged cases as well, according to the department.

“Due to the high volume of cases being reported during the current COVID-19 surge, the state has been experiencing a backlog in processing positive test results,” reads a notice on the state’s COVID-19 dashboard. “As a result of enhancement to expand the state system’s capacity to process a higher volume of automated lab results, a significant increase in cases will appear on the ‘Current Trends’ dashboard beginning today and for the next several days until the backlog clears.”

The inflated daily total includes 1,739 new cases in the Mahoning Valley: 778 new cases in Mahoning County (for a total of 47,700), 663 in Trumbull (36,959) and 298 in Columbiana (21,198), according to the dashboard.

With the new backlogged cases, Valley counties have reported a combined average of 939 new cases each day this month. There were an average of 434 new cases reported each day in December; 320 cases each day in November; 259 cases each day in October; 295 cases each day in September; and 113 cases each day in August.

The state on Friday surpassed 2.3 million total cases since the beginning of the pandemic and on Jan. 6 surpassed 30,000 deaths.

More than 374,000 Ohioans are presumed to be actively infected as of Friday — more than 3% of the state’s population — up from the most recent low of 69,700 in early November.

The state’s two-week average of new cases per 100,000 people rose on Thursday for the tenth week in a row. The state on Thursday reported an average of 1,884 new cases per 100,000 Ohioans, up from 1,818 the week prior. That’s nearly 19 times the CDC’s threshold for “high” transmission, which is 100 cases per 100,000 people.

Mahoning County reported 1,944 new cases per 100,000 residents, the 18th highest among Ohio’s 88 counties; Trumbull reported 1,649, the 47th highest, and Columbiana reported 1,386, the 68th highest.

The state on Friday reported 541 new COVID-19 deaths since its last mortality report four days prior, including 14 new deaths in Mahoning County, 12 in Trumbull and four in Columbiana. That makes 1,516 new deaths reported statewide so far this month.

There were more than 2,800 new deaths reported statewide in December; about 2,000 deaths in November; more than 2,500 deaths in October; nearly 1,110 deaths in September; and about 380 deaths in August. ODH attributes deaths to the date they occurred, so new death reports are not indicative of their time frame.

Due to “unprecedented testing levels,” the state has fallen behind on coronavirus testing reporting.

According to the most recent report, the state’s average seven-day rate of positive coronavirus tests increased Monday, Jan. 10 to 29.9%, down slightly from the all-time record high of 30.8% on Jan. 1. Before the recent surge of new cases, the state’s previous all-time high was 23.6% on April 20, 2020, amid COVID-19’s first wave.

Monday’s positivity rate is 23 times higher than the all-time low of 1.3 percent reported in late June. One Valley county’s rate is above the state’s average.

The positivity rate for the two-week period ending Jan. 4 was 32.4% in Trumbull County (up from 24.5% the prior two weeks); 25.9% in Mahoning (up from 18.5%); and 23.3% in Columbiana (up from 16.6%).

There were 472 new COVID-19 hospitalizations and 36 new ICU admissions reported statewide in the past 24 hours, according to ODH.

As of Thursday, 6,488 people were hospitalized in the state for COVID-19, down from 6,607 on Thursday, according to the Ohio Hospital Association. That is 1 in 3 of all patients now in Ohio hospitals. As of Friday, 1,224 patients were in the ICU, down from 1,228 on Thursday.

As of Wednesday, Jan. 12, fully vaccinated people accounted for 3,209 hospitalizations in the state since Jan. 1, 2021, and 761 fully vaccinated people have died. That means breakthrough infections are attributed to 4.5 percent of all COVID-19 deaths reported since the beginning of last year, and 5.6 percent of all hospitalizations.

In the past 24 hours, 8,097 new vaccinations were started in the state. The state on Jan. 2 surpassed 7 million first vaccinations, and 60% of all Ohioans had received at least one dose by Jan. 5.

As of Friday, 6,512,128 vaccine-eligible Ohioans have been fully vaccinated, or 59% of Ohioans age 5 and older. As of Friday, 53.4% of all residents in Mahoning County have completed their vaccinations; 50.7% in Trumbull; and 43.7% in Columbiana.

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