Ohio’s rise in cases attributed to new, more contagious variants of COVID-19


CEDARVILLE, Ohio (WDTN) — Governor Mike DeWine said Thursday that the state’s COVID-19 case rate reflects a pattern seen across the nation, another wave brought on by new variants of the original virus.

Dr. Bruce Vanderhoff, chief medical officer for the Ohio Department of Health, said studies have found these new variants are more contagious and more deadly than the original.

“Our variant counts jumped from 92 on March 12 to 797 today. That’s a doubling time of about every 9-10 days. Ohio remains in a very important race against the virus and its variants. We can win the race if we continue to press on with consistent masking and getting the vaccine,” said Vanderhoff.

The state is currently averaging 183 cases per 100,000 people — until Ohio averages 50 cases per 100,000 people for two weeks the state’s health orders will remain in effect.

DeWine said that 53 counties in Ohio, roughly 60% of the 88 counties in the states, have seen an increase in cases in the past two weeks. The governor remains optimistic though, noting that one-third of Ohioans have received at least one dose of COVID-19 vaccine.

“We’re not seeing a runaway case growth that we saw during the fall, certainly not yet,” said DeWine. “So we can still turn this around if more people continue to get vaccinated. This is a race, we are in a race … It’s a life or death race.”

Miami Valley’s health leaders say the spike in numbers is highly linked to the recent variant surge.

“Yes, the variant contributes because it makes it more likely at those gatherings if somebody has the virus that they’re going to pass it on to someone else,” said MVH Chief Medical Officer Dr. Roberto Colon. “However, if we are doing the right thing, wearing the mask, staying at a safe distance, if we are vaccinating then we are still going to control even the variant.”

Despite the spike, health leaders believe that numbers will plateau into the summer time as long as Ohioans continue to get vaccinated and practice safety guidelines.

“The safety and efficacy of the vaccine is what’s going on in our nursing home facilities,” said Dr. Colon. “Despite the fact we’re seeing this bump of cases, we’re not seeing the outbreaks in the nursing facilities like we were before. That’s really the evidence pointing at the fact these vaccines are indeed continuing to help people stay safe and keep the virus at bay.”

Dayton Children’s Hospital said cases of multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children (MIS-C) have started to spike. MIS-C is a complication of the COVID-19 infection only seen in children.

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