Ohio schools report lowest cases since September 2020 as year winds down

Bradley Illinois High School covid graduation

Students arrive for their graduation ceremony at Bradley-Bourbonnais Community High School on May 21, 2021 in Bradley, Illinois. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) – As the academic year ends for an increasing number of Ohio’s K-12 schools, new coronavirus cases reported by schools are fading out.

Schools reported just 398 cases for the week ending Sunday, May 30, according to Ohio Department of Health data released Thursday. It’s the lowest weekly total since the first week of data, 319 cases reported on Sept. 17, 2020.

The school year total stands at 78,832 cases. Infections were caught in and out of schools.

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

    An NBC4 analysis this week found that the share of COVID-19 cases among staff – versus students – have dropped dramatically since the state made vaccines available to them in February. Just three of this week’s cases are staff members, the lowest number yet.

    1,590 (57%) of 2,778 schools, districts, private schools, vocational schools, preschools and other non-college institutions listed by the state have reported cases. That is one more school since last week.

    53,748 (68%) of Ohio’s school cases are students and 25,084 (32%) are staff members, which include teachers, administrators, coaches and support staff.

    Cincinnati Public Schools, a district of more than 34,000 students, continues to lead the state in cases with 1,449. Six Columbus area school districts are in the top nine.

    While cases reported by schools peter out as the school year ends, the youngest Ohioans still account for the most recent COVID-19 cases among all age groups the state tracks. An NBC4 analysis Wednesday found the 0-19 age group has made up more than 1 in 5 cases since Ohioans 16 and up became eligible for the vaccine in March.

    "I think we often think of COVID as relatively benign for children," ODH Chief Medical Officer Dr. Bruce Vanderhoff said Thursday during Gov. Mike DeWine's coronavirus briefing. "But we now rank it among the top 10 causes of pediatric death (according to the American Academy of Pediatrics)."

    Since most state health orders were lifted on Wednesday, the remaining schools still in session can decide their own requirements for things like mask wearing and social distancing.

    Ohioans as young as 12 are eligible to get Pfizer's coronavirus vaccine. Find a provider by clicking here. Getting vaccinated also helps the children 11 and under who can't get vaccinated yet, said Dr. Patty Manning-Courtney, chief of staff at Cincinnati Children's Hospital.

    "Every day in our hospital, where we have over 500 children admitted, we have a handful of children with COVID in our hospital, including today," she said Wednesday in a press conference. "And the thing that you can do to protect those children who can't be protected is you can get protection, you can get vaccinated."

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

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