COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) – New coronavirus cases among students and staff members at Ohio schools decreased this week after hitting a record increase a week ago.
The Ohio Department of Health on Thursday reported 3,793 new COVID-19 cases in the week ending this past Sunday, bringing the state’s total this school year to 48,009. Thursday’s increase is nearly half the record 6,535 new cases ODH reported last week.
Cumulative COVID-19 cases reported by Ohio schools:
- Sept. 17: 319
- Sept. 24: 739 (+420)
- Oct. 1: 1,274 (+535)
- Oct. 8: 1,870 (+596)
- Oct. 15: 2,739 (+869)
- Oct. 22: 3,826 (+1,087)
- Oct. 29: 5,058 (+1,232)
- Nov. 5: 7,068 (+2,010)
- Nov. 12: 9,876 (+2,808)
- Nov. 19: 14,593 (+4,717)
- Nov. 26: 19,302 (+4,709)
- Dec. 3: 23,052 (+3,750)
- Dec. 10: 28,218 (+5,166)
- Dec. 17: 33,499 (+5,281)
- Dec. 24: 36,547 (+3,048)
- Dec. 31: Data largely discrepant, likely due to lack of reporting over holidays
- Jan. 7: 37,681 (+1,134 over two weeks)
- Jan. 14: 44,216 (+6,535)
- Jan. 21: 48,009 (+3,793)
The cases that Ohio reports include infections caused anywhere – inside and outside schools. State research has shown that the virus’s spread is not greater in schools than in the public if students and teachers are wearing masks and social distancing.
Schools report cases among students and staff to ODH on Tuesdays, and ODH releases numbers on Thursdays at 2 p.m. However, the numbers a school reports to ODH may not be as recent as Tuesday.
ODH reports “new” and “cumulative” cases. Cases only move over to “cumulative” once the person is no longer COVID-positive. This means the number of “new” cases each week is not guaranteed to be the weekly difference between “cumulative” totals. More info
1,465 (53%) of 2,774 schools, districts, private schools, vocational schools, preschools and other non-college institutions that the state tracks have reported cases. That is just 10 more schools than last week.
29,724 (62%) of Ohio’s school cases are students and 18,285 (38%) are staff members, which include teachers, administrators, coaches and support staff.
Cincinnati Public Schools, a district of more than 36,000 students, leads the state with 798 cases. Five Columbus area school districts are in the top seven.
Gov. Mike DeWine this week sent a letter to President Joe Biden outlining nine issues with which Ohio needs federal help, including broadband internet.
DeWine said Thursday during his coronavirus briefing that the intense increase in remote learning this school year has made starker the need for better and more equitable broadband internet service.
“We already knew we had a problem, but when we see young people that are remote and are having difficulty hooking up, difficulty being able to do that virtually, we know that there’s a problem,” he said.
DeWine also said at his briefing that 42.5% of Ohio students are back in school five days a week and 23.8% are fully remote. The rest, about one third, are in a hybrid learning model.
The governor hopes that all students will have the option of in-person learning by March 1. Schools that plan to do that can get their teachers and staff vaccinated for the coronavirus early, starting Feb. 1.