Weekly COVID-19 Update


Madison Olsen

During the fall semester, students were tested for COVID-19 in the Heisman Club Field House.

Lorain County Updates

In the past two weeks, between Nov. 19 and Dec. 3, Lorain County saw 2,285 new COVID-19 cases. A total of 7,777 confirmed cases have been recorded in Lorain County as of Dec. 3, according to Lorain County Public Health’s data, meaning that 29 percent of all known cases have occurred over the past two weeks. 

The Ohio Public Health Advisory System designated Lorain as a Level Four or “code purple” public emergency on Nov. 25. Purple is the highest emergency level and means that the county is experiencing severe viral exposure and spread. The Ohio Department of Health recommends that residents in Level Four areas only leave home for supplies and services. The statewide curfew from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m., issued by Ohio Governor Mike DeWine on Nov. 17, is still in effect and will continue until Dec. 10. 

The ODH travel advisory list, updated last Wednesday, now includes Ohio among the 14 states that the ODH cautions against traveling to.

 “[Ohio] is recommending Ohioans avoid traveling to Ohio, and those entering Ohio after traveling from Ohio are advised to self-quarantine in Ohio for 14 days,” reported News 5 Cleveland. Any state with a rate above 15 percent goes on ODH’s map of places where travel is discouraged. This week was the first time since April that Ohio’s positivity level has risen above 15 percent. 

Earlier today, Governor DeWine held a press conference where he outlined the state’s tentative plans for distributing a COVID-19 vaccine. Ohio expects to receive its first shipment of almost 100,000 vaccines on Dec. 15 from Pfizer. A few days later, on or after Dec. 22, Moderna plans to send 290,000 doses to Ohio, with Pfizer also sending a second round of 271,000 doses to Ohio. According to DeWine, the first people to be vaccinated will be health care workers who care for COVID-19 patients, people who live or work at nursing homes, and Emergency Medical Services responders. The vaccination requires two doses, several weeks apart, so Pfizer and Moderna will send rounds of second doses in January.

Neither Pfizer’s or Moderna’s vaccines have been approved for use in the U.S. yet, but many believe Pfizer’s will be approved on Dec. 10 when it is scheduled to be reviewed by the Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee. Regulators in the U.K. approved Pfizer’s vaccine on Wednesday. 

More information is available through the ODH and LCPH websites, where case numbers are updated every weekday at 2 p.m.

Oberlin College Updates

Oberlin College tests a quarter of all students, faculty, and staff every week. In the past two weeks, between Nov. 17 and Nov. 30, six people tested positive out of a pool of 1,127 tests — a 0.5 percent positivity rate. As of Tuesday, the College had completed a cumulative total of 11,135 tests and found 28 positive cases, for an overall positivity rate of 0.25 percent.

In response to the rise in cases across Lorain County and concern that the holidays could create additional outbreaks, the College announced that the spring semester will be delayed by three weeks. Classes now begin on Feb. 1 instead of Jan. 7. Administrators hope that the delay will allow a potential spike of cases over the holidays to subside before students return to campus. Additionally, the delay pushes the semester into the warmer months, meaning more activities can take place outdoors to reduce the chance of transmission.