COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) – A majority of Ohio counties have cleared the state’s goal of 50 onset cases of COVID-19 per 100,000 over two weeks, as cases continue to drop in the Buckeye State heading into summer.
Hitting that rate does not officially do anything, but it is an important mile marker that Gov. Mike DeWine and the Ohio Department of Health use to track where each county is in its fight against the virus.
Just 15 of Ohio’s 88 counties are still above 50 per 100,000 according to state data released Thursday, and the highest county, Carroll, is only at 70.6. Four counties are below 10 cases per 100,000, with the lowest, Hancock County, at just 5.3.
“We’re moving, and it’s consistent throughout the state or it’s going down throughout the state,” DeWine said Thursday at his coronavirus briefing. “So, we’re very happy with where we are. The more vaccines, the more we’re going to continue to drive this down.”
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.
All counties in the Columbus metropolitan area are currently below 50 per 100,000, as the highest, Fayette, sits at 45.6. Franklin County is at 41.1 cases per 100,000, and Delaware County, the most vaccinated in the state, is at 34.9.
Ohio dropped below 50 per 100,000 last Saturday in the same week that DeWine lifted most state health orders, such as mandatory mask wearing and social distancing.
“We’ve been carefully watching the number every day,” the governor said. Ohio is at 36.7 cases per 100,000 as of Thursday.
“It certainly indicates that Ohio continues to move forward into really a new phase of this pandemic,” he said. “We are moving forward, vaccinations are working, hospitalizations are down, deaths are down. The threat of COVID is still out there. And for someone who has not been vaccinated, that threat is certainly still there.”
The last time Ohio was at 36.7 cases per 100,000 was early April 2020, just a few months into the pandemic. The state’s 21-day average of daily reported cases is 539 as of Thursday, the lowest number since late June 2020.
Ohio recorded just 255 new cases of the virus on Monday, the lowest one-day number since March 29, 2020 (247).
Even lagging statistics like deaths have shown massive improvements in recent weeks. Ohio surpassed 20,000 total deaths from coronavirus this week, but the gap between the state’s 19,000th and 20,000th deaths was the longest since its first 1,000 deaths.