Franklin County was placed on the watch list on the Ohio Public Health Advisory System April 8 after seeing a sustained increase in cases and COVID-19 related health care use. 

The county was last on the watch list on Nov. 12, 2020, before being raised to Purple Level 4, the highest level on the advisory system. The county then was downgraded to Red Level 3 on Dec. 3, 2020.

The addition to the watch list comes as the state is enduring another wave of COVID-19, this time being driven by the increase in new variants of the original virus.

The variants are more contagious and more deadly, said Dr. Bruce Vanderhoff, chief medical officer for the Ohio Department of Health, such as the B.1.1.7 variant leading to an increase in variant count.

The variant counts jumped from 92 on March 12 to 797 on April 8, which is a doubling time of about every nine to 10 days, Vanderhoff said. At this rate, he said he believes the variant could be the dominant version of the virus within the next two weeks.

“We have a sizable portion of activity that this virus is engaged that is now being driven by these variants," he said. "I am confident that we will see more and more. And, quite frankly, I think within the next couple of weeks, the variant will be the virus that we are dealing with.”

The three COVID-19 vaccines available to Ohioans are effective against the variant.

Ohio reported 183.7 new cases per 100,000 residents, moving in the opposite direction of Gov. Mike DeWine’s goal to life health orders.

Last week, the state reported an average of 167.1 new cases per 100,000 population and an average of 146.9 on March 25.

The governor has said health orders will be lifted if the average drops to 50 new cases per 100,000 population.

DeWine said the state will use money from the federal stimulus to pay off its $1.46 billion debt from unemployment compensation benefits.

He added that he wants state lawmakers to address the structural problems with the state’s unemployment compensation fund.

Ohio has had 1,033,606 total cases of COVID-19, the Ohio Department of Health reported April 8.

The number of reported cases increased by 2,742 from April 7 – exceeding the state's 21-day average of 1,938.

The ODH has changed how it releases COVID-19 deaths in the state after conducting a review of the process. Deaths will be verified by coded death certificate information received from the National Center for Health Statistics, which can take some time to receive, according to a note on the ODH website. Death information is not available daily and will be updated twice a week moving forward. 

Ohio residents account for a total of 18,741 COVID-19 deaths, the ODH reported April 6; the median age of those who has died is 80. 

The individuals who have tested positive range in age of less than a year to 111 years old; the median age is 42.

The total number of tests conducted in Ohio is 11,230,029. The daily percent positivity of confirmed laboratory tests is 4.1%, with a seven-day moving average of 4%, according to data from April 6.

The ODH reports 53,841 cumulative hospitalizations, and 7,506 individuals have been admitted to the ICU due to the coronavirus. The median age of those hospitalized is 67. 

There are currently 1,193 patients hospitalized with the coronavirus – 282 are in the ICU, and 157 are on ventilators.

The ODH reports 978,269 individuals are presumed recovered – defined as cases with a symptom onset over 21 days prior who are not deceased.

Franklin County accounts for 119,897 of the cases, 3,660 hospitalizations and 1,339 deaths.

A total of 3,913,290 Ohioans (33.48% of the state's population) have received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, and 2,371,462 Ohioans (20.29%) completed the vaccination process as of April 8.

If you have questions regarding COVID-19, call 833-4ASKODH (833-427-5634) or visit coronavirus.ohio.gov.

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