Source: Health Policy Institute of Ohio
Coronavirus cases reported by the state are nearly three times more likely per capita to be from Ohio’s six biggest counties than from the dozens of small counties of under 50,000 people. However, state officials caution that without adequate testing, it is likely that many more Ohioans have the infection than the reported numbers (Source: “Urban/Rural: Known Coronavirus Cases 3 Times More Likely Per Capita in Ohio’s Biggest Counties than the Smallest,” Cleveland.com, May 1, 2020).
There have been 158.9 cases reported per 100,000 people in the six large counties combined and just 56.4 cases per 100,000 in the 39 counties with populations ranging from 13,085 to 48,590, cleveland.com research found.
Ohio’s six largest counties – Franklin (Columbus), Cuyahoga (Cleveland), Hamilton (Cincinnati), Summit (Akron), Montgomery (Dayton), and Lucas (Toledo) – account for 55% of Ohio’s cases (7,740 of 14,102, excluding prisoners) through the end of April, though they represent just 42% of Ohio’s population.
It is important to note that many more people likely have had coronavirus than are known, state officials say. Large urban hospitals were among the first to offer wide-scale testing, plus the large areas are home to the biggest share of the health care workforce. Testing has been concentrated on health care workers, the sickest patients and, recently, the prisons.
Other factors come into play for the urban areas. People live closer together in the largest areas. Vinton County, Ohio’s least populated county, was the last of Ohio’s 88 counties with reported cases. Just 31 people per square mile live there in comparison to 2,700 people per square mile in Cuyahoga County, the most densely populated county in Ohio.