Coronavirus: Hospitalizations, new cases continue to drop

Medical assistant Carrie Bowman with Centerpoint Health on Breiel Boulevard in Middletown, shows a COVID-19 test kit outside the office Tuesday, June 16, 2020. Centerpoint Health will be on location at Robert “Sonny” Hill Community Center at 800 Lafayette Ave. in Middletown for testing today, June 17, 2020. NICK GRAHAM/STAFF
Caption
Medical assistant Carrie Bowman with Centerpoint Health on Breiel Boulevard in Middletown, shows a COVID-19 test kit outside the office Tuesday, June 16, 2020. Centerpoint Health will be on location at Robert “Sonny” Hill Community Center at 800 Lafayette Ave. in Middletown for testing today, June 17, 2020. NICK GRAHAM/STAFF

In the past 24 hours, the state has reported 1,268 cases of coronavirus, the lowest number of cases this year. The average number of cases continues to fall, currently sitting at 2,248 cases, the Ohio Department of Health said.

In the past 24 hours, 60 coronavirus deaths were reported, bringing the state to 17,297 deaths since March. Since the beginning of the pandemic, nearly one year ago, the state has reported 967,422 cases of coronavirus.

On Sunday, 1,149 people were reported hospitalized with COVID-19, a 16 percent drop in hospitalizations since last week. 301 people are hospitalized in southwest Ohio and 82 hospitalizations occurred within the past 24 hours.

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Gov. Mike DeWine said he wanted to invest more in public health programs that can dramatically reduce problems down the road even before the coronavirus global pandemic shined a light on the shortcomings of Ohio’s public health system.

“There’s no question that public health in Ohio has been chronically underfunded, and we’ve seen the results in the past year. If you don’t build up a strong infrastructure and workforce before a crisis hits, then it’s not there when you need it,” said Micah Berman, associate professor in the Moritz College of Law and the College of Public Health at Ohio State University.

During the coronavirus pandemic, Ohio spent big on public health. The money flowing through the Ohio Department of Health hit $1.39 billion in fiscal year 2021, up from $631.6 million in fiscal year 2020.

DeWine’s two-year budget proposal released earlier this month recommends funding to ODH drop to $1.2 billion in fiscal year 2022 and then $887.8 million in fiscal year 2023 — an indication that the pandemic response will wind down.