Explainer: This Monday among top 5 days Ohioans got sick with COVID

State News

Still expected to rise, nearly 1,700 people came down with coronavirus on Oct. 12

COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) – Friday was the third straight day that Ohio recorded more than 2,000 new cases of COVID-19, as the state – and much of the Midwest – has seen a spike since late September.

The Ohio Department of Health reported 2,148 new cases on Friday, a record 2,178 on Thursday and a then-record 2,039 on Wednesday. But those numbers only reflect the number of positive cases ODH received that day, not when those patients actually got sick.

For that, we look to what ODH calls the “onset date,” which is when a patient first experienced symptoms or knew he or she had the virus. This is how ODH officially organizes daily case counts on its dashboard, and how NBC4 does on our Data Suite.

Because someone can have COVID-19 for up to two weeks before feeling symptoms, onset figures for the past 14 days are always considered preliminary and expected to rise. This is also why they lag behind those eye-catching daily reported case counts.

(For example, ODH reported 2,148 new cases on Friday, but only 11 people actually came down with the virus on Friday.)

That brings us to this Monday, Oct. 12. With still 10 more days in which that onset date’s case numbers are expected to rise, Oct. 12 has already risen to the 5th-highest day for Ohioans coming down with COVID-19.

Ohio’s top 5 coronavirus onset dates:

  1. April 16:  2,172*
  2. July 13:  1,786
  3. July 6:  1,719
  4. 4pril 17:  1,690*
  5. Oct. 12:  1,676

*Note that the two abnormally high dates in April are from when prisons in Marion County and Pickaway County reported huge numbers of positives all at once, which skews the data. For example, statewide onset cases totaled 584 on April 15, 2,172 on April 16, 1,690 on April 17 and then 480 on April 19.

Of the 83 counties that so far had people start symptoms on Oct. 12, cases are most prevalent among Ohio’s most populous counties:

RankCountyPop. rankLargest cityOnset cases, Oct. 12*
*Preliminary for 14 days afterward

A record 29 Ohio counties moved into the state’s red coronavirus advisory level on Thursday for “very high” exposure and spread, including Franklin County.

“These trends come at a time when colder weather is here and flu season has already started,” Franklin County Health Commissioner Joe Mazzola said in a statement Friday. “All too often we are seeing cases result from social, informal gatherings when individuals didn’t take the appropriate steps to protect themselves and others.”

“So, there remains significant concern for us,” he added. “We ask our residents to be cautious and remain vigilant.”

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