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DeWine unveils first school-based COVID-19 database

Posted at 1:55 PM, Sep 17, 2020
and last updated 2020-09-17 17:00:36-04

Gov. Mike DeWine on Thursday unveiled the Ohio Department of Health’s first round of COVID-19 data showing how many cases are tied to each of the state’s individual school districts.

The new case-tracking system, which anyone can access online, relies on schools’ self-reporting. Not every school had submitted numbers by the time DeWine premiered it to the public.

But by Thursday, the database of 2,760 schools and districts listed 157 known student cases and 122 among school staff. Fourteen of those cases — 12 students, two staff — were listed in Hamilton County.

The Ohio Department of Health also created an accompanying “children’s dashboard,” listing the number of patients under 18 who had been diagnosed in each county since the pandemic began. Children comprise about 7% of all COVID-19 cases in Ohio, according to Thursday’s numbers; about 9,040 have become sick since, 223 have been hospitalized and at least one has died.

Franklin, Hamilton, Cuyahoga and Montgomery are the only counties in the state to record more than 500 patients under the age of 18, per ODH.

DeWine also debuted the latest version of the health department’s statewide heat map, which colors each Ohio county yellow (low-risk), orange, red or purple (high-risk) depending on the prevalence of COVID-19 cases inside.

Butler County remains the only Cincinnati-area community considered high-risk — largely, DeWine said, due to the high-but-declining number of cases emerging from off-campus gatherings at Miami University.

With Labor Day finished, DeWine said his administration has begun to consider possible precautions for the next major autumn holiday on Ohio’s calendar: Halloween.

Although his administration does not currently plan to issue any order restricting Halloween events or trick-or-treating, DeWine encouraged Ohioans to follow social distancing guidelines, meet only in small groups and wear masks at all times if they plan to celebrate.