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Ohio – WEEKLY COVID-19 TRENDS | Mahoning Valley’s September cases per capita were on the low end in Ohio

Mercy Health’s Dr. James Kravec said the hospital system continues to closely monitor available hospital capacity. According to the state, hospitalizations and ER visits for COVID-like illnesses have risen steadily since mid- to late-September.

Last month, new coronavirus cases per capita in Mahoning, Trumbull and Columbiana counties were in the lower third among all of Ohio’s 88 counties, according to the governor’s office.

Gov. Mike DeWine on Thursday released new data summarizing cases, hospitalizations and deaths reported to the Ohio Department of Health in September.

Since the pandemic began, those three counties have consistently remained in the top fourth of Ohio counties for total cases and deaths to date. Mahoning County, which once led the state in total COVID-19 deaths, on Saturday had the 5th-highest number of total deaths.

But September’s per capita indicators appear to show the Mahoning Valley is now faring better in controlling the spread of coronavirus than much of the rest of Ohio.

Mahoning County in September totaled 268 new cases; 29 new hospitalizations; and four new deaths. With an estimated population of 228,683 people, that’s 117.2 new cases per 100,000 people, or the 64th-highest in the state.
Columbiana County in September totaled 108 new cases; 11 new hospitalizations; and nine new deaths. With an estimated population of 101,883 people, that’s 106 new cases per 100,000 people, or the 69th-highest in the state.
Trumbull County in September totaled 171 new cases; 14 new hospitalizations; and five new deaths. With an estimated population of 197,974 people, that’s 86.4 new cases per 100,000 people, or the 72nd-highest in the state.

That same Thursday, the Ohio Public Health Advisory System map showed several indicators of coronavirus spread in Mahoning County have been on the rise since mid- to late-September. The county’s risk level was upgraded to level 2 “orange” alert on Thursday, as the county now meets three of those seven indicators.

In the past two weeks, the county has reported more than 60 new cases per capita; the threshold for that indicator is 50 new cases per capita.
Between 72 percent and 90 percent of new cases reported in each of the last three weeks came from the community, rather than group settings such as long-term care or correctional facilities; the threshold for that indicator is 50 percent of new cases.
The county also saw a consecutive, five-day increase in new cases reported between Sept. 19, when the seven-day average of new cases was 8.29, and Sept. 24, when it hit 14.14. On Sept. 9, just after Labor Day, the seven-day average was 5.57 new cases.

However, the number of COVID-19-related hospital admissions and emergency department visits in Mahoning County have continued to climb since late September. Though the county has not triggered either of those risk indicators, were it to meet either as its fourth indicator, the state would move to “red” alert level under the map.

On Sept. 21, the seven-day average of new hospitalizations in Mahoning County was 0.86; a week later, that average had risen to 2.14. Similarly, the seven-day average of ER visits for COVID-like symptoms rose from 2.43 visits on Sept. 19 to 6.14 on Sept. 29.

Mercy Health, which operates hospitals in downtown Youngstown and Boardman, last week issued an alert on hospital capacity, but Dr. James Kravec, Mercy’s chief clinical officer, said it wasn’t due to the county’s COVID-19 cases.

Between Sept. 23 and Sept. 29, intensive care unit capacity in the county hovered between 60 percent and 70 percent. Under the state’s guidance, the critical point for ICU capacity is 80 percent. Between 3 percent and 6 percent of its ICU beds were for COVID-19 cases, according to the state.

According to Kravec, the capacity alert communicates to administrators that they should be focusing on safely discharging patients when able, in order to keep the census down and keep beds available.

“We are seeing [COVID-19] cases. What you are seeing on the dashboard is real and there is an increased number of cases statewide and countywide,” he said. “COVID is still here. We still have to be vigilant with our mask-wearing, our social distancing.”

Kravec added the onset of the seasonal flu has yet to have any noticeable impact on hospital capacity.

Though hospitalization and ER visits have risen in Trumbull County since early September, they’ve gone down in Columbiana County.

Statewide, Ohio marked 7,221 new confirmed COVID-19 cases in the past week, the highest weekly total since the week ending Sept. 5.

Coronavirus test positivity rates, which reached an all-time low two weeks ago, have also begun to climb. The seven-day average of positive tests was 3.2 percent Thursday. That day, the state reported another record number of coronavirus tests administered in a single day: 42,264.

Ohio on Thursday added 1,359 new coronavirus cases from the day prior, its highest single-day total of new cases since July 31, when 1,471 new cases were reported.

Over the last several weeks, DeWine has noted virus spread has shifted from densely populated urban counties to smaller, rural counties. According to the data released Thursday, the top three counties with the most cases per capita in September — Putnam, Mercer and Athens — have populations under 70,000 and each added between 200 and 350 new cases that month.

Coronavirus week by week

Here’s a breakdown of how each complete week of the pandemic has looked like in Ohio so far. Data in bold reflect the peaks in new cases, deaths, hospitalizations and ICU admissions. 

March 15 to March 21

New cases: 221
New deaths: 3

March 22 to March 28

New cases: 1,159
New deaths: 22
New hospitalizations: 261
New ICU admissions: 123 

March 29 to April 4

New cases: 2,333
New deaths: 77
New hospitalizations: 662
New ICU admissions: 203

April 5 to April 11

New cases: 2,448
New deaths: 140
New hospitalizations: 853
New ICU admissions: 246

April 12 to April 18

New cases: 3,752
New deaths: 192
New hospitalizations: 660
New ICU admissions: 188

April 19 to April 25

New cases: 5,044
New deaths: 237
New hospitalizations: 596
New ICU admissions: 178

April 26 to May 2

New cases: 3,554
New deaths: 279
New hospitalizations: 581
New ICU admissions: 128

May 3 to May 9

New cases: 4,023
New deaths: 264
New hospitalizations: 604
New ICU admissions: 134

May 10 to May 16

New cases: 3,276
New deaths: 243
New hospitalizations: 570
New ICU admissions: 100

May 17 to May 23

New cases: 3,452
New deaths: 299
New hospitalizations: 567
New ICU admissions: 129

May 24 to May 30

New cases: 3,351
New deaths: 182
New hospitalizations: 574
New ICU admissions: 119

May 31 to June 6

New cases: 2,769
New deaths: 210
New hospitalizations: 449
New ICU admissions: 102

June 7 to June 13 

New cases: 2,485
New deaths: 176
New hospitalizations: 404
New ICU admissions: 104

June 14 to June 20 

New cases: 3,169
New deaths: 136
New hospitalizations: 337
New ICU admissions: 79

June 21 to June 27

New cases: 4,907
New deaths: 101
New hospitalizations: 423
New ICU admissions: 83

June 28 to July 4 

New cases: 6,519
New deaths: 96
New hospitalizations: 487
New ICU admissions: 136

July 5 to July 11

New cases: 7,840 
New deaths: 123
New hospitalizations: 659
New ICU admissions: 116

July 12 to July 18

New cases: 9,356
New deaths: 95
New hospitalizations: 743
New ICU admissions: 143

July 19 to July 25 

New cases: 9,050
New deaths: 164
New hospitalizations: 632
New ICU admissions: 126

July 26 to Aug. 1

New cases: 8,484
New deaths: 207
New hospitalizations: 785
New ICU admissions: 138

Aug. 2 to Aug. 8

New cases: 7,453
New deaths: 150
New hospitalizations: 569
New ICU admissions: 97

Aug. 9 to Aug. 15

New cases: 7,345
New deaths: 150
New hospitalizations: 784
New ICU admissions: 113

Aug. 16 to Aug. 22

New cases: 6,117
New deaths: 148
New hospitalizations: 568
New ICU admissions: 109

Aug. 23 to Aug. 29

New cases: 6,778
New deaths: 150
New hospitalizations: 539
New ICU admissions: 78

Aug. 30 to Sept. 5

New cases: 8,168
New deaths: 127
New hospitalizations: 520
New ICU admissions: 80

Sept. 6 to Sept. 12

New cases: 6,374
New deaths: 149
New hospitalizations: 476
New ICU admissions: 56

Sept. 13 to Sept. 19 

New cases: 6,347
New deaths: 198
New hospitalizations: 466
New ICU admissions: 87

Sept. 20 to Sept. 26

New cases: 5,871
New deaths: 123
New hospitalizations: 435
New ICU admissions: 72

Sept. 27 to Oct. 3

New cases: 7,221
New deaths: 178
New hospitalizations: 550
New ICU admissions: 72

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