50 cases per 100k tracker: Rate lower than last week as Ohio hits plateau


NBC4 is tracking this important COVID-19 metric every Thursday

COLUMBUS (WCMH) – Ohio might be back on track toward its goal of 50 cases of COVID-19 per 100,000 over two weeks.

This rate, at which Gov. Mike DeWine said the state needs to reach 50 for pandemic health orders to lift, is 187 per 100,000 as of Wednesday, April 21. It was 201 when NBC4 ran the calculation last week and 185 two weeks ago.

To get back to 50 per 100,000 – a rate the state has not hit since June 14, 2020 – Ohio cannot record more than 5,844 onset cases of COVID-19 over a two-week period. That’s 417 a day.

State health officials calculate cases per 100,000 people by adding up the onset cases of the previous 14 days, dividing it by Ohio’s 2019 population (11,689,100) and then multiplying that result by 100,000.


  • Onset cases are backdated to when that COVID-positive person started feeling symptoms. A date’s onset case total is considered preliminary for 14 days as more positive tests come in.
  • State officials subtract the handful of cases that are prisoners. Onset cases among prisoners are not publicly released, so NBC4’s case rate for the state is slightly higher.
  • NBC4’s rate is also rounded up to the next whole number.
  • Coronavirus cases in Ohio – and thus the per-100k rate – had been slightly increasing since about mid-March, but the data now shows the state could be plateauing.

    “It's still a high rate, but it's certainly not going up and we're seeing certainly a very significant leveling off,” Gov. Mike DeWine said Wednesday at his coronavirus briefing.

    Ohio’s 21-day rolling average of newly reported cases, for example, has been trending flat or slightly down for the past two weeks.

    DeWine also said Wednesday he and his health team are considering nixing 50-per-100k as the goal to lift health orders in favor of a goal based on vaccinations.

    “We don't have anything to announce, but we are looking at that,” he said. “We’re looking at any kind of measures that would tell people kind of where we're going and what we have to achieve. So, we're not ruling that out at all.”

    More than 4.4 million people have gotten at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine in Ohio as of Wednesday, more than 38% of the population. 3.2 million people (more than 27%) are fully vaccinated.

    “I think the best thing that we can do, as far as keeping cases from surging back up,” the governor said, “we have a tool now that we didn't have. We were all on defense before, had no way of being on offense. The offense now is the vaccine.”

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