COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) – Even though COVID-19 cases in Ohio have returned to a pace last seen in spring 2020, Gov. Mike DeWine says he is concerned how the pandemic will look after summer.
“The concern is what happens in the fall and what happens in the winter,” DeWine told reporters at an unrelated press event Wednesday. “What happens when the kids go back to school? What happens when we are inside more?”
DeWine said his data team thinks Ohio is now averaging 14 deaths a day from COVID-19. Although that rate is a massive improvement from earlier in the year, it still means nearly 100 Ohioans are dying from the disease every week.
“So, we’re not through this, is my point,” he said.
Ohio’s COVID-19 deaths have been reported separately from cases and hospitalizations since March, when the state moved to a system that prioritizes accuracy over speed. Deaths are reported twice a week (usually Tuesday and Friday) and account for multiple dates.
A date’s death count is considered preliminary until 14 days after, however deaths can still lag more than that. The graph below shows weekly death counts after each week’s data releases:
The governor said Wednesday he worries especially about the most unvaccinated areas of the state. Fourteen of Ohio’s 88 counties, for example, have yet to see a third of their populations get at least one dose of a coronavirus vaccine. And 53 counties have yet to reach 40%.
“Those are the areas that we worry about,” DeWine said, as “school goes back in, people are moving around, they’re inside more. We worry about outbreaks that will occur.”
About 58% of Ohio adults are vaccinated, DeWine noted, but “that still leaves a lot of people who are not vaccinated.”
“As happy as I am,” the governor said, to hold public news conferences again, go to Cincinnati Reds games and fish with his children and grandchildren, “the concern is what happens in the fall.”