Chief Medical Officer: COVID-19 situation seeing improvement in Ohio

The northern region of Ohio bordering Michigan is beginning to see hospitalizations drop after several weeks of increasing numbers in what the state’s chief medical officer said is encouraging.

“Thankfully, we are seeing some indication of improvement in Michigan’s picture,” said Dr. Bruce Vanderhoff. “There clearly an influence in terms of COVID-19 disease activity as we look at the Michigan border.”

Michigan’s 7-day case average was around 7,000 for two weeks and saw a decline for the first time this week, according to data from John Hopkins University analyzed by the Wall Street Journal. The spike has rivaled the spike seen in the fall, The WSJ reported.

Vanderhoff described the declines seen in Ohio over the last week as “early, modest decreases.”

“We’ll see if those sustain,” Vanderhoff said.

The Ohio Hospital Association reported 223 active hospitalizations of people with COVID-19 Friday in the northern region around Toledo, which is down from 263 last week.

Vanderhoff said he believes the recent surge in cases in the state are coming from variant cases involving the U.K. variant, which is now the dominant COVID-19 strain in the country, according to the CDC.

Many of those cases as well as hospitalizations are coming from counties in the northern part of the state.

“We’ve seen generally speaking higher case counts, higher hospitalizations as we head north in the state,” Vanderhoff said.

The northern counties in the state are important to those in the Miami Valley hoping for the state health orders to be lifted. Gov. Mike DeWine has said when Ohio reaches 50 cases per 100,000 residents statewide those orders will come off.

In a sign the state may be heading back in the right direction, Thursday cases per 100,000 residents dropped for the first time in several weeks from 200 to 185.8, ODH data shows.