The Ohio Department of Health has expressed concern about the spread of coronavirus variants in the state, as the statewide average has risen over the past few weeks.
The previous two Thursdays saw a statewide average of a little fewer than 150 cases per 100,000 population. This average went up to 167.1 cases per 100,000, the state’s health department said last week.
Health officials said the uptick is a result of the spread of variants of the novel coronavirus.
“Ohio remains in a race against a virus that is now more contagious and right back on our heels,” said Dr. Bruce Vanderhoff, the chief medical officer of the Ohio Department of Health, in a statement.
Ohio is 11th in the nation for the number of cases for the B.1.1.7 variant, fifth in the nation for the P.1 variant and 19th in the nation for the B.1.351 variant, according to data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The state has 454, 13 and 3 cases of each variant, respectively.
Florida has the highest number of cases for both the B.1.1.7 and P.1 variant, with 3,191 and 64 cases, respectively. South Carolina has the most cases of the B.1.351 variant at 75 cases.
“We can win this race as long as we don’t falter; as long as we press on with consistent masking and vaccination, especially in light of this week’s important and encouraging research out of the CDC confirming that the vaccines are powerful protection against COVID-19 and its variants,” Vanderhoff said.
The CDC said that currently approved vaccines also appear to work against these variants.
Ohio currently has nearly 870,000 confirmed cases of the coronavirus and more than 18,600 deaths, according to the ODH. More than 30 percent of the Ohio residents have been vaccinated.
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