May was Ohio’s best month for COVID-19 since summer 2020


Cases, hospitalizations, deaths dropping as vaccinations tick up

COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) – Call it a reversal; call it the last remaining embers from a wildfire; call it whatever you want, but the data is clear: The coronavirus pandemic in Ohio has returned to where it was nearly a year ago.

26,647 Ohioans were diagnosed with COVID-19 in May, according to backdated Department of Health data as of Monday. That day marked 14 days since May 31, which means May data is no longer considered preliminary.

May’s case count marks a significant decrease at the end of spring after more contagious variants of the coronavirus bumped up case numbers in April. That month’s case count, 52,002, was nearly twice the number in May.

The 26,647 cases reported in May were the fewest in 11 months, when Ohio saw 20,599 cases last June.

MonthCasesRank (of 18)
Jan 202015018
Feb 202019417
Mar 20205,77315
Apr 202017,05213
May 202016,30714
Jun 202020,59912
Jul 202040,9918
Aug 202031,6509
Sep 202030,84310
Oct 202074,6164
Nov 2020240,3542
Dec 2020257,2381
Jan 2021175,8273
Feb 202163,2515
Mar 202150,5717
Apr 202152,0026
May 202126,46711
Jun 2021*3,34016
Data: Ohio Dept. of Health; *Preliminary

“We’re really seeing what this vaccine is doing, and we continue to see it every day,” Gov. Mike DeWine said Thursday in his weekly coronavirus briefing.

As the cumulative number of Ohioans who have started vaccinations has risen since December, new infections every day have generally decreased.

Now in the pandemic’s 18th month, 1,107,225 Ohioans have been diagnosed with COVID-19, 59,928 have been hospitalized with it and 20,091 have died from it. 5,454,295 Ohioans — 46.66% of the population — have at least one dose of a vaccine, according to ODH.

Hospitalizations and deaths

Last month saw Ohio’s fewest hospitalizations from COVID-19 since last spring. Hospitalizations tend to closely follow case trends but be a week or two behind. Ohio’s 1,903 coronavirus hospitalizations in May were the fewest since 1,732 in March 2020.

MonthHospitalizationsRank (of 18)
Jan 2020718
Feb 20201917
Mar 20201,73215
Apr 20202,8097
May 20202,32710
Jun 20201,98413
Jul 20203,2615
Aug 20202,31911
Sep 20202,12212
Oct 20204,8414
Nov 202010,9871
Dec 202010,5372
Jan 20216,5553
Feb 20212,7938
Mar 20212,4629
Apr 20213,0156
May 20211,90314
Jun 2021*25516
Data: Ohio Dept. of Health; *Preliminary

Deaths in May are technically no longer preliminary because 14 days have passed. But since Ohio switched reporting systems in March, new deaths are reported only twice a week and tend to lag more than when reporting was linked with cases and hospitalizations.

With that caveat, 341 Ohioans died from COVID-19 in May, the fewest since 91 died from the virus in March 2020. The next highest month for deaths was June 2020, when 466 Ohioans died.

MonthDeathsRank (of 18)
Jan 2020117
Feb 2020018
Mar 20209115
Apr 20209886
May 20201,0505
Jun 202046613
Jul 20206089
Aug 20207048
Sep 202055711
Oct 20208517
Nov 20202,7543
Dec 20205,5271
Jan 20213,6732
Feb 20211,3524
Mar 202159210
Apr 202152512
May 202134114
Jun 2021*1116
Data: Ohio Dept. of Health; *Preliminary

ODH usually reports new deaths on Tuesdays and Fridays.

Looking ahead

Preliminary numbers for the first half of June look promising, continuing the significant downward trend since early April. When looking at the multi-dated cases ODH reports every day, June has seen days and weeks that resemble some of the earliest weeks of state reporting.

DeWine lifted major state health orders on June 2, such as mandatory mask wearing and social distancing. And although data from the first of those days won’t be considered final until later this week, the preliminary numbers don’t show increases in cases or hospitalizations.

“We are pretty much back to normal, we’re rolling,” DeWine said last Thursday, noting that music and sports venues, including those for the Cleveland Indians and Cincinnati Reds, can sell as many tickets as they want.

“We’re back, we’re moving and feel good about where we are,” he said.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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