COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) – New coronavirus cases are trending down in Ohio as the state tries to hit 50 onset cases per 100,000 people over two weeks, a goal that Gov. Mike DeWine set to lift state health orders.

The rate is 141 per 100,000 as of Wednesday, May 5. It was 156 when NBC4 ran the preliminary calculation last week, 187 two weeks ago and 201 the week before that.

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. Ohio reported 1,450 new cases on Wednesday.

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.
  • When DeWine first announced the goal in early March, “we were right in this neighborhood,” he said of the rate on Monday. “… So, we hope this continues to go down, and at least it’s headed in the right direction.”

    Fighting that progress, however, is a dramatic decrease in COVID-19 vaccinations since the end of March. Ohio reported just 21,465 shots administered on Wednesday after peaking at more than 107,000 on March 31. The last time Ohio was even above 50,000 was April 9.

    DeWine said his health team is not setting a number they think is a ceiling for vaccinations, nor a specific number for herd immunity. A widely circulated New York Times story on Monday, however, said experts estimate herd immunity to be at least 80%.

    “We set a goal, we're now seeing the cases go down,” the governor said, “and we believe that the reason those cases are going down, primarily, is because of the vaccine.”

    DeWine also said Monday that discussions are still “ongoing” on whether to change the 50-per-100k goal to something based on vaccinations.

    “Again, I believe that one thing impacts the other,” he said, “And I believe that the reason you're seeing a decrease in the number of cases statewide, which we like to see, has to do with more and more people becoming fully vaccinated.”

    “We have not yet come up with a ‘Here’s the specific number that all health orders will come off,’” DeWine added, “and we’re still talking about it and still looking at it.”