COVID-19 update for Madison County: Explaining the numbers

(Posted April 22, 2020)

The following coronavirus (COVID-19) update for Madison County was released by Madison County Public Health on April 21.


COVID-19 data is being used to help public health professionals and healthcare providers monitor the spread of COVID-19 in Madison County and across Ohio. While these numbers mean a great deal to the healthcare world, it can be confusing to understand the significance and what they mean.

As of April 21, there are 24 lab-confirmed COVID-19 cases in Madison County and 13,250 cases in Ohio. There are currently six probable COVID-19 cases in the county and 475 probable cases in the state. Probable cases are most often symptomatic contacts of a confirmed positive case. Madison County has had a total of eight hospitalizations and three deaths due to COVID-19.

When we combine probable with lab-confirmed, we have a better idea of how many total residents are being affected by the virus. New antibody testing will reveal how many individuals were actually infected at some point and may or may not have experienced symptoms. Those who are mildly ill or do not have symptoms at all can still pass COVID-19 along to other people who may get a severe illness.

The actual number of people who have COVID-19 is far greater than what is being reported. Early in the pandemic, there was little to no testing available. Additionally, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that 25 percent of people with COVID-19 may be asymptomatic (have no symptoms at all). Having this data paints a better picture of COVID-19’s reach into the community; better data leads to more informed decisions.

On occasion, you may find a difference between the numbers reported on the state website and Madison Public Health’s website. Cases are continuously reported by labs and doctors. These numbers are a snapshot in time. The health department’s team works hard to properly and thoroughly investigate cases and report accurate information.

We learn more about the COVID-19 virus every day. We do not know if people who were sick once with COVID-19 can get sick again, or if they will build immunity to the virus. One thing we have learned is that the virus affects everyone differently, including length of illness. There is no accurate way of reporting the number of people who have recovered since that looks different for everyone.

Madison County Public Health will continue to provide accurate local data at covid.madisonph.org and on social media (@madisoncountyPH). If you have questions about COVID-19, call Madison County Public Health at (740) 852-3065 or at info@madisonpublichealth.org. Or call the Ohio Department of Health COVID-19 hotline at 1-833-4ASK-ODH.

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