50 cases per 100k tracker: Where Ohio stands on March 25


NBC4 is tracking this important COVID-19 metric every Thursday

COLUMBUS (WCMH) – After weeks of consistent decline, Ohio’s rate of coronavirus cases per 100,000 residents over two weeks has flattened.

As of Wednesday, March 24, the rate stands at 148 per 100,000, which is slightly higher than it was a week ago at (a preliminary) 145. Gov. Mike DeWine has said it needs to hit 50 per 100,000 for all state health orders to lift.

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.
  • The Ohio Department of Health on Wednesday reported 1,848 new cases, already bringing the total for this week to 4,920. (Most of those cases have onset dates from the past two weeks.)

    When could Ohio hit 50 cases per 100,000 people? Here is some very simple math that considers no epidemiology:

    148 cases per 100,000 people divided by 50 is 2.96, which means the rate needs to decrease to about a third of what it is now. The last time it was around 2.96 times higher than it is now was nearly seven weeks ago on Feb. 6.

    If that trend were to stay the same (it won’t*), the best-case scenario would have Ohio reaching 50-per-100,000 in early April.

    *Why won’t the trend stay the same? COVID-19 cases tend to follow a bell curve, which means the more they decrease the longer they take to decrease more. The simple calculation above assumes a consistent decline, but Ohio’s COVID-19 cases are currently flattening out at the bottom right of the bell curve. Suffice to say, 50-per-100,000 by early April is wishful thinking.

    Gov. DeWine has estimated July 4 as a possible date when Ohio hits its goal, but he made that prediction in early March when cases were at a steeper decline.

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