Ohio’s incident rate, key to dropping health orders, slows decline

Since DeWine announced the incident rate threshold on March 4, the rate has dropped 35.8 points.

Ohio’s incident rate, key to dropping health orders, slows decline
Ohio's COVID-19 case incident rate since the beginning of the pandemic. (Source: Ohio Department of Health)

COLUMBUS, Ohio (FOX19) - Ohio’s statewide COVID-19 case incident rate has fallen for the ninth week in a row, though recent declines have proved increasingly marginal.

Currently the incident rate is at 143.8.

That rate reflects total cases per 100,000 Ohioans over the last two weeks.

When Ohio’s rate reaches 50 for two weeks, all health orders — including the mask mandate — will be lifted, Gov. DeWine announced on March 4.

At the time, the incident rate was 179.6.

A week later, it had dropped 24.6 points to 155. This week’s drop was 11.2 points, indicating the case decline has slowed after the state’s winter case surge. (Ohio hospitalizations appear to be doing the same — that is, still declining, but declining more slowly than before.)

The incident rate crested at an astonishing 845.5 in November during that winter surge, meaning it had ample room to drop. For comparison, the spring 2020 surge reached just 43.7, while the high mark of the summer 2020 surge was 114.

The last time the rate was below 50 was June 24.

As of Thursday, 2,567,312 people aged 16 and up, or 27.4 percent, have received at least one vaccine dose.

Increasing vaccinations figure to bring down the incident rate, but just how much is unclear.

The vaccines have been shown to effectively eliminate severe cases of COVID-19. That is, a vaccinated person is more likely never to develop symptoms than a non-vaccinated person, and a vaccinated person is extremely unlikely to require hospitalization, let alone die, from the virus.

But the jury is still out on whether a vaccinated person carries the virus around, even if they don’t show symptoms... and a positive test is a positive test in the state’s reporting system.

Similarly, the research remains unclear about whether the vaccines suppress transmission. Early findings suggest they do, and that’ll show up in fewer cases, but we just don’t know for sure yet.

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