DAYTON — The per capita rate of COVID-19 cases is rising in Ohio, Gov. Mike DeWine said Thursday at his briefing held at a mass vaccination site in Dayton.
“For the past two Thursdays, our statewide averages were just under 150 cases per 100,000 population,” said DeWine. “The two-week case rate has risen to 167.1 cases per 100,000 as of today. New cases have been relatively flat through the month of March, but we are seeing the numbers go back up.
“With the increase in cases per capita at the statewide level, we also saw cases increase in 56 counties. At this point, there aren’t yet significant increases in healthcare utilization at the county level, so most counties are still staying red or orange on our advisory map.
DeWine said overall cases are up in Ohio “for the first week in a long time. Our seven-day average of new cases per day was 1,842 this week compared with 1,570 last week, and yesterday we saw almost 2,500 new cases.
“Not surprisingly, this has been accompanied by a rise in concurrent hospitalizations up from 851 a week ago to 978 yesterday. And our seven-day rate of positive test results is up to 4% from 3% in mid-March.
“While COVID-19 is certainly not limited to any particular part of the state, we are seeing more activity, including more variant activity, on our northern border with Michigan.”
DeWine added, “As we continue to get additional vaccine, most allotments will be delivered to providers based on county population, but areas with great demand may get a surge of more doses, and areas with case spikes will see the deployment of more doses there as well.”
Beginning next week, Ohio will start working to vaccinate all college students who want the vaccine. “This is because we have an obligation to vaccinate people as quickly as we can to increase the vaccination rate,” said DeWine.
“Although young people are less likely to get sick from COVID, the evidence shows that young people are significant carriers — so, this is also a strategic move to vaccinate students before they scatter throughout the state and country when classes end in May.”
Clinton Co. to yellow
Also on Thursday, Clinton County improved to yellow status — Level 1; Active Exposure and Spread — on the state’s COVID-19 map.
Yellow is best on the state’s map — most other counties around Clinton are at higher levels of 2 or 3.
Can I still spread virus?
NEW YORK (AP) — Can I still spread the coronavirus after I’m vaccinated?
It’s possible. Experts say the risk is low, but are still studying how well the shots blunt the spread of the virus, the Associated Press reports.
The current vaccines are highly effective at preventing people from getting seriously sick with COVID-19.
But even if vaccinated people don’t get sick, they might still get infected without showing any symptoms. Experts think the vaccine would also curb the chances of those people spreading the virus.
“A vaccinated person controls the virus better, so the chances of transmitting will be greatly reduced,” said Dr. Robert Gallo a virus expert at the University of Maryland School of Medicine.
Among the evidence so far: Studies suggesting if people do get infected despite vaccination, they harbor less coronavirus in the nose than the unvaccinated. That makes it harder to spread.
Trying to settle the question, the U.S. is starting a study of college students willing to undergo daily nasal swab testing.
Given the uncertainty and the arrival of more contagious variants, experts say fully vaccinated people should continue to wear masks and social distance in public and when visiting with unvaccinated people at high risk for severe illness if infected.
Other factors can also affect the likelihood of a vaccinated person spreading the virus, including vaccination rates in the community and whether there’s an ongoing surge in cases locally.
The Associated Press contributed to this story.