CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) - On Saturday the state of Ohio reported an increase of 2,293 new coronavirus infections, according to the Ohio Department of Health.
So, are we seeing a fourth wave of the coronavirus in Ohio and nationwide? Doctors can’t be sure.
Doctor Claudia Hoyen, the Director of Infection Control at Rainbow Babies and Children’s Hospital, as well as Co-Director of University Health Systems tells 19 News, “I do know in following what’s been going on around the country that in the last month it’s younger age groups that are being infected, and when you think about it that really makes sense.”
Newborns and people up to ages 49 are contracting COVID-19 because many people 60 and over have now been vaccinated.
“People thought this might happen since many states around the country have removed mask mandates,” said Hoyen.
But there’s no secret that warmer weather, Spring Break, travel, and allowing restaurants and bars to go back to longer hours could be contributing to the spike in infections.
“As we kind of saw the plateau – it made us worry that as we were approaching March and April with Spring Break,” said Hoyen. “Then [we saw] a lot of travel for Passover as well as a lot of travel for Easter – that we might see another surge.”
The CDC says the highest number of cases per capita is in Michigan and the Northeast, including Rhode Island where capacity limits for businesses in many cases have been lifted. But it’s also possible the more contagious and deadly UK variant has spread more quickly. Ohio only had 92 variant cases reported three weeks ago, and 620 this week.
“We’re in a little bit of this race between the vaccine and the variants – it’s as if they’ve both started out of the block, and they’re running and what we want to win is the vaccines,” said Hoyen.
Medical experts say what we want to do over the next eight to twelve weeks is keep the spread down by continuing to mask up, social distance, and wash and sanitize your hands as often as possible.
As of Saturday, there have more than 1 million coronavirus infections across Ohio since the start of the pandemic, according to the Ohio Department of Health.
An additional 156,637 total cases are presumed to be linked to COVID-19 under the CDC expanded definitions and included in the Ohio Department of Health’s reporting.
Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine did not schedule a regular COVID-19 briefing on Saturday. The health department will not report new COVID-19 data on Easter Sunday in observance of the holiday. Sunday’s data will be included in Monday’s totals.