COLUMBUS (WCMH) – Monday’s new COVID-19 case count is well below the state’s 21-day average of about 6,500 cases, and some of the other statistics released by the Ohio Department of Health seem to be leveling off.
Is the state finally heading in the right direction?
Two doctors said we have likely seen the highest case numbers from the most recent surge of the virus.
Looking at the most recent numbers, they said there are reasons to be optimistic the worst is behind us, but a lot still needs to happen before the state is in a good place.
In August, OhioHealth Infectious Disease Expert Dr. Joseph Gastaldo said Ohio’s delta surge peak would likely happen around October. Now, looking at recent numbers, he said the state has hit its high point.
“I really do feel we have reached our peak and are coming down from our delta surge in the state of Ohio,” he said.
Looking at Monday’s data, the testing positivity rate is relatively flat at around 13 percent over the past few weeks, and hospitalizations are fluctuating with more than 3,700 COVID-19 patients in hospitals across the state.
While both metrics aren’t consistently rising, Gastaldo said those numbers are not sustainable from a healthcare perspective.
“They are still high,” Gastaldo said. “Hospital bed capacity is tight.”
According to Dr. Iahn Gonsenhauser with the Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center, it will be a while before hospitalizations and deaths follow the declining case counts.
“So while we’ve seen the new case numbers start to peak and actually start to pull back a little bit, we’ve still probably got a few weeks when we’re going to see those hospitalization numbers and still the deaths from this most recent surge,” Gonsenhauser said.
Both doctors said the recent numbers are a good sign, but it will be several months before Ohio hits pre-delta surge numbers again.
“I’d be skeptical to think our positivity numbers are going to get as low as they were in Ohio before the delta surge, so really, realistically, I’m not sure we’re going to get that low until next spring,” Gastaldo said.
One of the reasons both doctors said it could be several months before we see pre-delta surge case numbers is the colder months ahead.