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Omicron BA.5 variant driving up summer increase in new Ohio cases

Signage at the CAS COVID-19 testing site in January.
WOSU File Photo
Signage at the CAS COVID-19 testing site in January.

The mid-summer increase in reported COVID-19 continues in Ohio. The CDC is recommending the indoor use of masks in Franklin County.

The Ohio Department of Health reports 26,610 cases during the seven-day period ending Thursday. Combined with last week, the state has reported more than 50,000 cases during the two most-recent reporting period, the first time that’s happened since last winter.

Prior to the last two weeks, the state has not seen more than 20,000 reported new cases in a week in nearly five months.

The CDC considers the community spread level in Franklin County to be high and recommends masks be worn indoors, stay up-to-date with COVID vaccines, get tested if you have symptoms and people considered high risk take additional precautions.

Half of Ohio's 88 counties are considered to have high level of community spread by the CDC.

Health officials report 690 COVID-related hospitalizations in Ohio over the past week. That’s up from 550 in the previous week, and 411 two weeks ago.

Experts largely blame the recent spike in cases on the new BA.5 variant, which is considered more contagious and more likely to lead to reinfection.

The Ohio Department of Health transitioned from daily to weekly reporting of cases, hospitalizations, vaccinations and deaths in March.