COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) – The continuous progress Ohio has made on muzzling the Delta variant of COVID-19 is stopped for the moment, and those trends are evident in overall cases and infections reported by schools.

Ohio’s K-12 schools on Thursday reported 5,348 new cases among students and staff for the week ending Sunday, Nov. 7. That’s the second consecutive week-over-week increase — after a slight uptick last week — and it brings the school-year total to 79,322.

Weekly cases had been falling since NBC4 began tracking in mid-September:

  • Sept. 17:  +10,682
  • Sept. 24:  +9,827
  • Oct. 1:  +7,564
  • Oct. 7:  +7,405
  • Oct. 14:  +6,289
  • Oct. 21:  +5,116
  • Oct. 28:  +4,660
  • Nov. 4:  +4,696
  • Nov. 11:  +5,348

Schools report cases among students and staff to ODH on Tuesdays, reflecting the week ending on the previous Sunday. ODH releases numbers on Thursdays at 2 p.m.


Case criteria

  • Full-time or part-time students and staff who have tested positive for or been diagnosed with COVID-19. Infections were caught in and out of school.
  • Staff members include teachers, administrators, coaches and support staff.
  • Excludes students/staff who are completely remote, but includes them if they were “on-site” while infectious.

  • ODH reports “new” and “cumulative” cases. Cases only move over to “cumulative” once the person is no longer COVID-positive. NBC4’s count of new cases every week reflects the change in “cumulative” cases. More info

    A similar trend of plateauing progress on the Delta variant is showing in Ohio’s overall COVID-19 cases. After six consecutive weeks of decline, cases reported Monday-Sunday by the Ohio Department of Health rose last week by more than 3,000.

    ODH on Thursday reported nearly 5,000 new cases for the day, and this week is on track to be higher than last week.

    A Johns Hopkins University analysis this week found nationwide cases have stalled at a high level, sitting just above 70,000 per week since late October. The Delta variant wave peaked at more than 172,000 cases over a seven-day period in mid-September, according to the analysis, but their low point in the summer was under 12,000.

    As for the cases reported by Ohio schools, the vast majority – 67,418 (85%) – are students. 11,904 (15%) are staff members, which include teachers, administrators, coaches and support staff. Last school year, students were roughly 2 in 3 cases, and staff were 1 in 3.

    1,483 (54%) of the 2,767 schools, districts, private schools, vocational schools, preschools and other non-college institutions that ODH tracks have reported a case this school year. That’s 21 more schools than last week.

    Cincinnati Public Schools, a district of more than 34,000 students, leads the state with 1,975 cases, ahead of Columbus City Schools at 1,075 cases. Columbus is among five Franklin County districts in the top nine.

    The median number of cases among schools with at least one infection is 17 cases, while the median number for school districts is 83 cases.

    99.6% of Ohio’s public school students are in school five days a week as of last week, according to data from the Ohio Department of Education. However, 54.4% of students are in a district that requires masks for all or some students, a drop from 60% a week before.

    The remaining 45.6% of Ohio public school students learn where masks are optional.