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Surge in COVID Cases Hits Ohio Amid Summer Travel and Activities

COVID-19 cases in Ohio have risen by approximately 27% compared to recent weeks, though doctors like Joseph Khabbaza from Cleveland Clinic suggest communities shouldn’t overreact given the relatively low starting point. Current statewide numbers reported by the Ohio Department of Health exceed 3.7 million.

These summer spikes are not unusual for Ohio, following a trend seen in previous years. Unlike seasonal viruses like colds and flu, COVID-19 exhibits waves of cases throughout the year rather than distinct peak seasons. Dr. Khabbaza, a critical care physician, typically sees one to two patients daily, noting that while symptoms are generally mild, COVID-19 remains challenging to manage.

“In the outpatient setting, we’re not seeing severe illness,” said Dr. Khabbaza. “Recent spikes and variants have generally not caused severe disease, which is positive, but COVID-19 isn’t yet fully predictable seasonally, as different variants emerge.”

Mark Cameron, an infectious disease researcher at Case Western Reserve University, attributes the current spike to increased summer travel and large gatherings. He suggests that new variants or infections introduced through travel, especially from international sources, may spread at festivals and concerts. While current summer numbers are manageable, Cameron warns they could forecast trends for later in the year.

“As we anticipate returning to campus and fall activities, we may see another rise in cases,” Cameron said. “By late September and October, typical cold and flu season may start, influenced by these summer variants.”

The CDC offers guidelines to mitigate risk during this phase:

  • Ensure you have received the latest COVID booster shot to cover new variants.
  • Maintain good surface and hand hygiene by washing hands thoroughly and disinfecting surfaces.
  • Consider testing yourself, as COVID variants may mimic symptoms of a cold or flu.
  • Wear masks when in public or at gatherings.

To schedule a booster shot, individuals are encouraged to contact their healthcare provider or visit local pharmacies.

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