COLUMBUS (WCMH) — The Ohio Department of Health released updated numbers related to the coronavirus pandemic Friday, with the total number of cases surging past 600,000.
As of Dec. 18, a total of 605,862 (+9,684) cases have been reported in Ohio since the pandemic began, leading to 7,967 (+73) deaths and 34,143 (+398) hospitalizations.
Ohio passed 500,000 total cases on Dec. 8.
The latest public health advisory map, released Thursday, showed only one county at level 4, or purple: Richland. Eighty-three counties are at level 3, or red, including Franklin and all of those in central Ohio. Four counties are at level two, and none is at level one.
DeWine said counties move to purple under worsening conditions then drop down to red when conditions plateau, but he said every county in the state is at least three times higher than what the CDC considers high incidence.
While the numbers remain high, DeWine indicated that the news could have been worse.
“The Thanksgiving bump that we feared hasn’t been what we expected,” he said.
DeWine said the combination of a statewide 10 p.m. and a mask order for retail establishments may have worked together to keep numbers from escalating.
“We don’t know if it’s a real plateau yet,” DeWine said. “That’s good, but it’s not good enough.”
Vaccinations began in Ohio this week as several hospitals received shipments from Pfizer, and those were given to front-line medical personnel. On Friday, vaccinations will begin for nursing home residents and staff under a CDC program, DeWine said.
Additional shipments are expected to arrive soon from Pfizer and also from Moderna, once federal approval for its use is complete.