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Coronavirus slows statewide, gains footing in rural Ohio

Jake Zuckerman, Ohio Capital Journal

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July’s coronavirus barrage has waned in August, as measured via seven-day moving average of new cases.

However, COVID-19 is now more prevalent in Ohio’s rural counties when adjusted for population than in urban pockets carrying the heaviest caseloads.

According to Ohio Department of Health data, Mercer, Champaign and Lawrence counties are reporting the most cases per 100,000 residents.

While the virus grows more pervasive in rural counties, its spread has slowed statewide.

The seven-day moving average of new cases dropped to 948 Wednesday, down from 1,270 on Aug. 1.

Cumulatively, nearly 111,000 Ohioans have contracted COVID-19. More than 12,500 have been hospitalized with the disease, and 3,907 have died.

The July case surge peaked July 13 when a staggering 1,763 Ohioans contracted the virus.

Similarly, hospitalizations skyrocketed, reaching record levels of COVID-19 patients in Ohio hospitals by late July. The patient rolls have shrunk through August.

While deaths trended upward with the July surge, they didn’t come close to peak levels of late April. Early research and media reports suggest improvements in care for hospitalized patients explains the decreased death rate.

Twelve counties are still classified as red (“very high exposure and spread”) by the ODH Public Health Advisory System, while the bulk of Ohio counties are a milder orange (“increased exposure and spread”).

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