COLUMBUS, Ohio — The state of Ohio reported 20,917 new COVID-19 cases over the Christmas holiday weekend. Infections are remaining at elevated levels while the highly contagious omicron variant continues to spread across the country.
Ohio didn’t release new COVID-19 numbers on Christmas Day, but the state published the new two-day count on Sunday.
Throughout the pandemic, Ohio’s new cases typically have decreased on weekends and peaked on weekdays, when more testing is performed and results are completed.
Last week, Ohio broke new records for COVID-19 cases on Tuesday (12,502 cases), Wednesday (12,864) and Thursday (15,989), and Friday’s tally was the second highest ever (14,414). The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said the omicron variant is becoming the most common coronavirus variant in the nation and it will likely spreads more easily than the original virus.
The state confirmed that the omicron variant had been detected in Ohio two weeks ago, and health officials and experts warned that the variant might be more contagious and more likely to reinfect people.
“This variant’s arrival and the continued impact of the delta variant underscore the importance of our best prevention tool, which is choosing to be vaccinated,” said Ohio Department of Health Director Bruce Vanderhoff in a news release.
The state is averaging 10,045 daily COVID-19 cases in the last three weeks. During that period the state has averaged about 334 daily hospitalizations and 34 daily intensive care unit admissions, according to the Ohio Department of Health public dashboard. Over Christmas, the state recorded 109 new hospitalizations and 9 new ICU admissions, according to Ohio's COVID-19 dashboard.
There are 4,774 people who are currently hospitalized in Ohio as COVID-19 positive, or about one in four inpatients, according to data from the Ohio Hospital Association. About one in three patients in the ICU across the state have COVID-19, the association said.
The number of patients in the hospital or ICU with COVID-19 has increased more than 10% in the last three weeks.
Nearly 60% of all Ohioans (6.9 million people) have started the vaccination process, including about 70% of the 18-and-older population, state data show. Younger segments of the population are more likely to be unvaccinated. About 54% of 20- to 29-year-old Ohioans are vaccinated, while more than 87% of people in their late 60s have started their shots.