Questions and Answers: Is Ohio experiencing an alarming increase in coronavirus? What does the latest data mean?

CLEVELAND, Ohio – Ohio state-reported coronavirus cases are trending upward after weeks of decline, but the same turn for the worse doesn’t show up for ICU hospitalizations and deaths. These trends have developed as testing has increased.

What does this all mean?

Here is a summary of some of the key questions.

Q: Have Ohio case numbers increased?

A: Yes, at least for the number of known cases.

The latest numbers not only show what Governor Mike DeWine described as “a huge increase in cases,” they have been trending for days.

In the past eight days, Ohio reported between 531 and 892 new cases on Thursday every day. This immediately followed a 12-day period when recently reported cases were much lower, ranging from 300 to 434 per day.

A good way to see the trend is the seven-day moving average. That smoothes the data to account for delays in processing evidence or paperwork.

The seven-day average on June 12 reached its lowest level in nearly two months at 381 per day. The average has now increased significantly, to 647 per day for the past seven days. This is the highest point since April 25.

And, for a single day, Thursday’s 892 recently reported cases were the highest since intense prison testing caused the numbers to peak at 1,000 for three days in mid-April.

However, what has always been unknown is how many cases there are that the state is unaware of.

Q: Does this mean that more Ohio residents are getting the virus?

A: It seems so.

“There seems to be an increase in cases. How much I think is related to increased testing, I don’t think we can say yet, “Dr. Michael Roizen, director emeritus of wellness at the Cleveland Clinic, said in a telephone interview.

“What I look at very closely are the admissions and deaths in the ICU. They both stay low and keep going down, which means that if more Ohioans are getting infected, the elderly are protecting themselves or being protected. “

Dr. Richard P. Lofgren, president of UC Health in Cincinnati, said during the governor’s televised press conference on Thursday that follow-up in Greater Cincinnati found a sharp increase not only in cases but also in positive outcomes for individuals. between 20 and 30 years old.

“This is indicative that a greater number of cases that we are seeing is not just because we are doing more testing,” Lofgren said. “It really shows that there are more diseases and that more diseases are spreading in our community.”

DeWine said the same thing, based on his conversations with multiple health officials: “We have increased testing. But no analyst I have spoken to believes the total increase is due to that at all. ”

Q: How much testing has increased?

A: Ohio in the past week has reported 99,325 new tests for coronaviruses. This is higher than 87,176, 75,091, and 76,886 in the previous three weeks. In mid-May, the seven-day total was closer to 61,000.

DeWine has said that anyone who wants a test can now get one, although there may be some limits to privately administered tests.

This was not always the case. Initially, Dr. Amy Acton, then director of the Ohio Department of Health, said the limited evidence available was largely reserved for the sickest patients, the elderly, and healthcare workers. Younger people would be rejected if they were not extremely ill.

Q: Is the percentage of positive tests stable?

A: Yes, at least in general.

The state reported positive test rates of 4% or 5% every day since June 9.

The previous highest positive rates included 8% on May 20, 9% on May 7, 12% on April 20, and, at the height of prison testing, 37% on April 19.

Q: What does the positive test rate mean?

A: That depends.

Roizen said it is difficult to extract meaning from such information that is not drawn from a random sample of the population.

And he said it is difficult to compare Ohio with another state, like Arizona, where a positive rate of 22% has been reported: “Either they are not doing so many tests or they do not have so many infections. You can’t say which one.

Random sampling would be a better indicator of the spread, or lack of spread, of the virus.

“I have not discovered why we have not made large random sets of the country’s population,” he said. “They (the positive rates) don’t make sense, but they are not as important as the number of hospitalizations and the number of deaths, and making their own protection.”

But Lofgren said a trend in Greater Cincinnati was significant: Increasing positive testing rates among youth, while rates for older people remained in the 5% range. Lofgren said that, along with other data, it showed an increase in the virus among young people.

Q: Are hospital beds filling up or is demand constant?

A: The number of coronavirus patients in intensive care units has generally decreased or remained stable in recent weeks. These are the serious cases that are observed more closely.

The Ohio Hospital Association reported Thursday that 206 ICU patients reported hospitals. That’s where this number has been for over a week, and much better than before. There were 323 ICU patients on June 1, 411 on May 1, and a maximum of 535 on April 16.

The number of patients in the ICU has been shown to be manageable. In late March, Acton discussed that the state had 1,300 empty beds in the ICU at the time and the need to avoid exceeding capacity.

As for total hospitalizations, however, they have increased five days in a row from 513 on Saturday to 624 on Thursday. There were 760 patients on June 1 and 1,067 on May 1.

COVID-19 patients in Ohio hospitals

COVID-19 hospital stays until recently had been decreasing in Ohio. This table shows the number of patients on a given day, as reported by hospitals to the Ohio Hospital Association. Out-of-state patients are included. Totals for the most recent day or two can be reviewed later.Rich Exner,

Q: Are hospitalizations and deaths following case trends?

A: It may be too early to find out.

It can be days before someone is sick enough to go to the hospital, and a person could have the virus weeks before dying.

Acton had mentioned this more than once when providing daily updates with the governor. Roizen said hospitalization generally occurs between five days and two weeks after infection. Death trends often follow hospitalizations for another five to eight days, he said.

“Obviously there is a delay, so you are concerned if there will be a problem,” Roizen said, adding that so far death trends have not appeared. “Looking at the data so far, it appears that the elderly are doing a better job of protecting themselves.”

Deaths by date coronavirus Ohio

The number of coronavirus deaths per day in Ohio peaked at 64 on April 28. The death toll has not exceeded 40 since May 23. The latest date numbers will increase as more information becomes available.Rich Exner,

Sixty-four Ohio residents died of the coronavirus on April 28, the worst day of death. In a few days or so, the deaths were 55 or more.

There have been no more than 40 deaths reported in a single day since May 23.

If deaths do not follow the recent increase in cases, there is another possible explanation.

Younger people with the virus are more likely to never be hospitalized or die. However, that does not make the worry go away, Lofgren said, noting that some young people can become seriously ill and all can contribute to the spread of the virus.

“We have clearly seen a change in terms of younger people who are really handling this increased number of cases,” Lofgren said.

Rich Exner, data analysis editor for, writes about numbers on a variety of topics. follow us on twitter @RichExner. See other data-related stories at

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