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COVID-19 rates up in rural Ohio counties, down in urban counties

The rate of COVID-19 cases in some rural Ohio counties has begun to increase, while some urban centers are seeing improvement, state data shows (Source: “Data indicates COVID growing in rural counties, slowing in urban areas,” Springfield News Sun, Aug. 20, 2020).

The new data was released Thursday as part of a weekly update by the Ohio Department of Health. The counties each receive an advisory on a scale of 1-4 based on seven indicators of how prolific coronavirus is in a community. The full data for each county can be found at www.coronavirus.ohio.gov.

Gov. Mike DeWine attributed the improvements in more urban counties to longer adoption of masking in public.

“What has happened is we’ve seen the urban areas with a bigger percentage of people wearing mask for a longer period of time and we’re seeing those numbers go down. Unfortunately we’re seeing those numbers go up in our rural areas,” DeWine said during his afternoon press conference.

On Friday afternoon, the Ohio Department of Health reported 113,046 cases of COVID-19 (an increase of 6,489 since last Friday), 12,719 hospitalizations (an increase of 591 this week) and 3,955 deaths (171 more reported since last Friday). The increase in cases and hospitalizations was smaller than last week, while the number of COVID-19 deaths is up slightly.