Ohio Is No. 3 for Positive COVID-19 Cases at Colleges & Universities, New York Times Finds

Colleges and universities in Ohio haven’t fared so well at evading the coronavirus.

Mar 3, 2021 at 10:34 am
The Ohio State University seal - Photo: news.osu.edu
Photo: news.osu.edu
The Ohio State University seal

Colleges and universities in Ohio haven’t fared so well at evading the coronavirus.

In data collected by the New York Times and last updated Feb. 26, there have been 24,940 positive COVID-19 cases reported at 62 higher-ed schools in the Buckeye State over the course of the pandemic.

That makes Ohio the state with the third-highest case count in NYT’s findings, which also includes Washington, D.C., Puerto Rico, Guam and the Virgin Islands. 

Texas tops the list with more than 42,000 positive cases in colleges and universities, while Florida has had more than 28,000.

Schools in Ohio’s neighboring states haven't fared quite as badly. Pennsylvania is closest to Ohio’s tally with nearly 24,000 positive cases at colleges and universities during the pandemic. Michigan has had nearly 19,500 cases, while Kentucky has had nearly 12,500. West Virginia has trailed them all with nearly 3,500 positive cases reported.

The New York Times also breaks its data down by school. Ohio State University has reported 7,153 total positive cases over the course of the pandemic, including 1,331 cases in 2021 alone. 

The University of Cincinnati has had the third-most positive cases reported among schools in the state, with 2,067 in total and 228 this year.

To obtain its data, the New York Times surveyed 1,900 colleges and universities and performed open records requests. The Times notes that while its database is comprehensive, there’s no consistency among schools about how, when or even if to report COVID-19 cases, especially deaths. The Times adds that disparities in campus size and reporting structure also can lead to an undercount of cases.

But the NYT believes its data to be the most comprehensive in the category, writing:

More than 120,000 cases have been linked to American colleges and universities since Jan. 1, and more than 530,000 cases have been reported since the beginning of the pandemic. The Times has also identified more than 100 deaths involving college students and employees. The vast majority occurred in 2020 and involved employees.

Read the New York Timesfull report.