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Lucas, Wood counties designated as transmission level 'red' by CDC

Ohio's COVID-19 cases climb to highest levels since February, but cases causing few serious illnesses.
Credit: CDC

TOLEDO, Ohio — Ohio has seen its COVID numbers rise to the highest levels since the week of Feb. 10, and the increase is being driven, in part, by high numbers in northwest Ohio.

Lucas and Wood counties are now designated as "red" counties by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, meaning there is high transmission occurring and hospitalizations are increasing. It also means that the CDC recommends that residents wear masks while in crowded indoor settings.

Ohio's case rate per 100,000 residents has climbed to 291.1, nearly three times what is considered "high incidence" by the CDC. But the numbers are significantly higher in Lucas and Wood - 383 and 369, respectively. Those numbers are sixth and eighth highest in state. The combination of high transmission and a new hospital admission rate of greater than 10 per 100,000 residents earned the counties a red designation. Only three other counties - Lorain, Cuyahoga, and Ashtabula - are at those levels.

In Lucas County, Sylvania and Maumee have seen recent outbreaks. Sylvania has experienced 149 new cases in the past two weeks. Maumee has had 115 cases. Both cities' case rates are above 400.

In Wood County, Perrysburg has reported 178 new cases, which is 17th in the state over the previous two weeks. Its case rate is 458.

The latest increase in cases is being driven by the BA.2.12.1 omicron subvariant, which appears to spread more easily from previous variants, even previous omicron subvariants. It also does a better job at evading the body's immune responses, meaning that large numbers of people who have been vaccinated and also those who have been previously infected are now being infected.

The good news is that, like other versions of omicron, it typically does not cause serious illness because it largely stays in the nose and upper respiratory system, rather than penetrating into the lungs.

Ohio has seen its number of patients hospitalized with COVID rise to 689, compared to 352 on May 1. However, health officials say much of this increase can be attributed to people testing positive after coming into the hospital for other conditions. With COVID more prevalent in the community, hospital numbers are rising at a statistically expected number.

The state is, however, still seeing fewer patients with COVID than previous years. On May 26 in 2020, there were 930 patients. There were 785 last year. But the big difference is that there are few people getting seriously ill this year. There are currently 79 people in the ICU with COVID, including 42 on ventilators. Those numbers were 207 and 136 last year and 351 and 232 in 2020. Ohio reported 38 deaths during the past week. During the same 7-day period last year, that number was 125. It was 282 in 2020.

More than 70 percent of the state's hospitalizations are in those 60 and over.


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