School COVID cases appear to fall again, but data is fuzzy

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

The number of new COVID cases reported by Ohio and Dayton-area schools appears to have dropped again last week, but errors and omissions in the data released Thursday by the Ohio Department of Health make it difficult to nail down the exact decrease.

The raw data from the state shows only 1,766 new cases reported by schools statewide from Feb. 8-14, way down from 2,785 and 3,242 the previous two weeks.

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But those numbers are likely incomplete. The ODH data say 18 of Ohio’s 88 counties did not report a single new case from their schools last week. While that may be true in several smaller counties, the list of 18 also includes Hamilton County (Cincinnati), which in every recent week has reported 240 to 400 new cases.

Neither Hamilton County Public Health nor Ohio Department of Health officials responded to questions about the missing data Thursday afternoon.

Under a state health order from last fall, when schools become aware of a COVID infection in a student or staff member who is not fully remote, they must report it to their county health department within 24 hours. Each county then reports the data to the Ohio Department of Health at the end of the week.

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The number of new cases reported by schools in the Dayton area also fell significantly, to 190 for Feb. 8-14. That’s down from 246 and 340 the previous two weeks. The data problems in the Dayton area did not appear to significantly affect new cases, so that decline may be more reliable.

The local data problems were largely with school year totals.

Last week, ODH’s data release said schools in Preble County had accounted for 275 total COVID cases since September (157 students and 118 staff). In the data released Thursday, all of those cases disappeared, and the county showed all zeros.

The same was true for Champaign County north of Springfield, which had been listed with 166 cumulative cases as of last week.

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The Dayton-area schools reporting the most COVID cases last week were Lebanon with 20 cases (17 students and 3 staff), and Kettering with 18 cases (12 students and 6 staff).

Vaccination of school employees continues, as Beavercreek staff got their first dose on Thursday, and Springboro schools are scheduled for the same on Friday.

PUBLIC SCHOOLS REPORTING THE MOST NEW COVID CASES FEB. 8-14

20 — Lebanon (17 students, 3 staff)

18 — Kettering (12 students, 6 staff)

12 — Miamisburg (11 students, 1 staff)

12 — Centerville (10 students, 2 staff)

12 — Fairborn (7 students, 5 staff)

10 — Springboro (7 students, 3 staff)

PRIVATE SCHOOLS REPORTING THE MOST NEW COVID CASES FEB. 8-14

3 — CinDay Academy (2 students, 1 staff)

3 — Miami Valley School (2 students, 1 staff)

3 — Carroll HS (3 students)

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