COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) — Ohio’s top medical official on Friday detailed the latest in the state’s precipitous drop in COVID-19 cases, as the omicron variant wave falls off its peak.
The omicron wave first hit Ohio close to Lake Erie. Weekly cases per 100,000 people in Cuyahoga County have dropped to 268, Ohio Department of Health Director Dr. Bruce Vanderhoff said in a Friday press conference, which is down from more than 3,000 per 100,000 in early January.
“This dramatic climb and subsequent fall illustrates the rapid cycle of omicron,” he said.
Hospitalizations, too, are dropping statewide, Vanderhoff said, from a high of 6,749 on Jan. 10 to 3,464 now. That’s a 48% drop, Vanderhoff added, but it’s still a “very high and very concerning number.”
Declines in hospitalizations around the state have allowed some hospitals to return their operations closer to where they were before omicron, but others still need the help of the Ohio National Guard. And cases are still 10 times above what the federal Centers for Disease Control considers “high.”
“We are feeling hopeful as we begin February that better days are ahead,” he said. “But remember, we are still a very long way from having case levels like those we were seeing in the late spring through the early fall.”
Vanderhoff was joined by Dr. Joseph Gastaldo, Medical Director of Infectious Diseases at OhioHealth, to discuss how the pandemic may become more endemic, meaning a disease that people live with every day or every year, like the flu.
Dr. Patty Manning, Chief of Staff at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital, also joined to talk about how the omicron wave affected children, as well as the importance of vaccination.
On Thursday, the state reported just reported more than 5,700 new cases, continuing a downward trend of average daily cases. The 21-day case average is just over 15,900.
Coronavirus cases reported every week by Ohio schools came in under 20,000 for the first time in a month on Thursday, as the state continues to see infections drop from an omicron variant wave peak in January.