Weekly COVID-19 Update

Lorain County Updates

A week ago, on Friday, Jan. 29, Lorain County surpassed a cumulative total of 20,000 confirmed COVID-19 cases since the start of the pandemic. While a grim milestone, the outlook this week was not hopeless. Since Jan. 4, cases have been declining in the county, and between Jan. 29 and Feb. 4, Lorain County saw only 439 new COVID-19 cases. By contrast, during multiple weeks in early December the county was seeing over 3,000 cases in a week. 

Statewide Updates

The decline in new cases is not specific to Lorain County, as Ohio overall is seeing fewer cases and hospitalizations are falling across the U.S. However, some epidemiologists fear that a new and potentially more contagious variant of the virus could change the course of this decline. 

As of Wednesday, over 900,000 Ohioans received the first dose of a vaccine against COVID, with over 200,000 people in the state already fully vaccinated with both doses. During phase 1A of the vaccine distribution plan, Ohio inoculated health care workers, EMS responders, and residents and staff of nursing homes and state psychiatric hospitals. Now the state has moved onto phase 1B, which includes employees working in-person at K-12 schools and people who are 70 years or older. Next week that pool will expand to include anyone 65 years or older, as well as Ohioans with severe health conditions such as cerebral palsy, severe type 1 diabetes, sickle cell anemia, and solid organ transplant patients. The state expects that it will take several weeks to vaccinate the 2.2 million Ohioans included in this phase.

On Thursday, Governor Mike DeWine announced that he expects that the amount of doses that Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna ship to Ohio will increase in the coming weeks. Currently, Ohio is receiving around 140,000 doses per week from the two companies combined, but DeWine expects this could double by the end of March. Additionally, the governor announced that a statewide portal will be launched in mid-February where Ohio residents will be able to search for vaccine administration sites by ZIP code and county.

More information on COVID-19 in Ohio is available through the ODH and LCPH websites, where case numbers are updated every weekday at 2 p.m.

Oberlin College Updates

This week marked the first week of spring semester classes and the return of Oberlin College students since the extended winter break. Every student arriving this past week was tested and advised to quarantine while they awaited their results. Out of 1,494 tests administered this past week, only one was positive for COVID-19, making the percentage positive 0.07 percent. 

During the fall semester, the College administered 11,135 tests and received a total of 28 positives, making the semester’s overall percentage of new positive cases 0.25 percent. Now that move-in has finished and the spring semester has started, the College will go back to its protocol of testing a quarter of all students, faculty, and staff every week.

This semester, the College is adding new precautions and safety measures including rapid tests for symptomatic individuals. Additionally, the College is applying to be a vaccination site, which administrators hope would streamline the process of vaccinating students once young adults are eligible to get the vaccine, likely in May. More information on the process of applying to be a vaccination site, and the College’s response to the new variants, here.