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Over-cron? Data show Tri-State may be past peak of winter surge

Transmission of the virus is slowing across the Tri-State's 14 counties, according to data from...
Transmission of the virus is slowing across the Tri-State's 14 counties, according to data from The Health Collaborative.(The Health Collaborative)
Published: Jan. 24, 2022 at 9:13 PM EST|Updated: Jan. 24, 2022 at 9:14 PM EST
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CINCINNATI (WXIX) - Greater Cincinnati could be on its way to putting omicron in the rearview.

Data appearing to support that claim were released Monday by the Health Collaborative.

Locally, the data show plummeting rates of transmission in the Tri-State’s largest counties—Hamilton, Butler, Warren and Clermont—and plateauing rates in the others.

Writ large, they appear to vindicate the predictions of experts (here and here, for example) that omicron would burn itself out by the beginning of February, as it already has done in portions of the northeast that were hit earliest.

View the full slide deck here. Compare with Friday’s data.

Selected graphs are pictured below. Hamilton County Health Commissioner Greg Kesterman’s presentation Tuesday on the data can be found here.

Omicron on the outs?

The Tri-State’s r-value, or the average number of people to whom one COVID-positive person transmits the virus, is 0.77, marking the first time in 2022 it’s come in below 1.

Hamilton County has the lowest r-value in the region at 0.65, down 0.5 points from Friday.

Seven Tri-State counties have r-values whose upper bounds are below 1, according to the data. Last Friday, there were no counties in that category, and 12 of 14 had r-values whose lower bounds were above 1.

The data is less clear on hospitalizations. That’s unsurprising, as hospitalizations have lagged symptom onset dates throughout the pandemic. But it’s not insignificant either.

Omicron introduced a high degree of variance into metrics that previously had been highly correlated: cases, hospitalizations, ICU admissions, and ventilator use. Hospitalizations remain the most important metric for policymakers, and any continued murkiness on that front naturally prohibits the drawing of conclusions.

What do the hospitalization data actually say though? It is—provisionally—good news.

The weekly average percentage of Tri-State hospital beds occupied by COVID patients is declining for the first time in 2022, according to the data.

Moreover the total number of COVID patients in Tri-State hospital beds has fallen or remained stable for four consecutive days.

Case incidence rates in the Tri-State's 14 counties as of Jan. 24, 2022.
Case incidence rates in the Tri-State's 14 counties as of Jan. 24, 2022.(The Health Collaborative)
Tri-State r-values Jan. 21 vs Jan. 24
Tri-State r-values Jan. 21 vs Jan. 24(The Health Collaborative)
Ohio r-values Jan. 21 vs Jan. 24
Ohio r-values Jan. 21 vs Jan. 24(The Health Collaborative)
COVID patients in Tri-State hospitals  Jan. 24
COVID patients in Tri-State hospitals Jan. 24(The Health Collaborative)

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