Cases of COVID-19 continue to rise in Ohio. This week the state recorded more than 7,000 new cases of COVID-19 on both Wednesday and yesterday. But, the number on Wednesday included a backlog of cases from a testing lab. The Ohio Department of Health, however, says we have not seen this level of cases since January during the winter surge.
Ohio Department of Health Director, Dr. Bruce Vanderhoff, says Ohio is in worse shape now than before the vaccines were available. The ODH says one in eight people in Ohio hospitals has COVID-19 and one in five are in intensive care. Those numbers are higher in rural counties where vaccination rates remain low comparative to other parts of Ohio. Dr. Vanderhoff says the majority of those hospitalized with COVID-19 are unvaccinated.
Spread of COVID-19 is listed as high by the Centers for Disease Control for 87 of Ohio's counties. Ashtabula County is listed as having substantial community spread of the virus. Throughout the pandemic, the benchmark of new cases per 100,000 people has been used. The Ohio Department of Health says Ohio now has more than 400 new cases per 100,000 people staetwide with some counties-well above that number. For perspective, in July the number was 17 cases per 100,000.
COVID-19 continues to create challenges for school districts to keeping students in class during this surge, especially in southern Ohio. The Athens City School district had to shutter the district through Labor Day after most of its bus drivers were infected or exposed to COVID-19. The Lebanon School District is also closed through the holiday due to surging case numbers. The district says 900 students are in quarantine. Schools in Northern Ohio are also impacted. Sandusky Schools moved middle and high school students temporarily to remote learning as a result.
Governor Mike DeWine this week urged Ohioans not to use a livestock medication to treat COVID-19. The drug, ivermectin, is used to deworm animals such as horses. It is not approved by the Food and Drug Administration for use in people against viruses such COVID-19. But, the drug is being tested in clinical trials to determine if it has an impact on the virus.
Lisa Ryan, Health Reporter, Ideastream Public Media
Kabir Bhatia, Reporter, WKSU
Karen Kasler, Statehouse News Bureau Chief, Ohio Public Radio/TV