The Columbus Dispatch

Ohio reaching peaks in new COVID cases

- Titus Wu

Ohio reported more than 9,100 COVID-19 cases on Thursday, marking the highest level since September.

On top of that, the state reported 3,916 hospitaliz­ations. The last time there were more hospitaliz­ations was Jan. 12, during last year’s winter peak of cases. Much of the burden of new hospitaliz­ations has fallen on northeaste­rn Ohio.

The caseloads and hospitaliz­ation numbers climb as the omicron variant makes its way into population­s around the world.

Again, Ohio health officials pleaded with people to get vaccinated.

“Vaccinatio­n is how people can be

help,” said Dr. Andy Thomas, with Ohio State University’s Wexner Medical Center, “...to reduce hospitaliz­ation and cases.”

In Ohio, 58% of people ages 5 and older have received at least one shot so far. Meanwhile, 15.5% of COVID tests are positive – a rate that is climbing. A month ago, the positivity rate was 9.5%.

While health officials had no one clear explanatio­n for why cases are rising, they pointed to a multitude of factors. For one, with the holiday season already underway, more people are gathering. In addition, with winter arriving, more people are huddling indoors.

Right now, thanks to prior planning, hospitals have been shifting patients around to each other and capacity hasn’t been a problem. But Thomas said that if hospitaliz­ations continue to increase into January, that could change.

In addition to getting vaccinated, health officials also asked Ohioans to get tested if they’re showing signs of COVID-19, which m be harder to distinguis­h from the flu as influenza season arrives.

Rapid, at-home tests are widely available, said Ohio Department of Health Director Dr. Bruce Vanderhoff. If an at-home test is positive and you have potential exposure to the omicron variant, health officials advise you also get a PCR test to confirm.

Titus Wu is a reporter for the USA TODAY Network Ohio Bureau, which serves the Columbus Dispatch, Cincinnati Enquirer, Akron Beacon Journal and 18 other affiliated news organizati­ons across Ohio.

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