County COVID cases continue to climb


COVID-19 cases in Highland County have continued to rise, according to the New York Times COVID Tracker. The tracker said Tuesday that the county was seeing 6.9 new cases per day, which is about 16 cases per 100,000 in population.

The last time The Times-Gazette reported on COVID-19 data, which was on Dec. 1, The New York Times COVID Tracker said the county was seeing 5.4 new cases per day, about 12 cases per 100,000 in population.

The tracker gave some of the latest trends for the county. It said that the community level of COVID-19 in the county is “low” based on cases and hospitalizations, according to the most recent Center for Disease Control (CDC) update on Dec. 1.

It also said the number of hospitalized COVID-19 patients has risen in the county, with the number of deaths staying at “about the same level.”

The tracker said the test positivity rate in Highland County is “high.”

“Higher test positivity rates are a sign that many infections are not reported, even if they are tested for at home,” the tracker said. “This results in a more severe under count of cases. The number of hospitalized patients with Covid is a more reliable measure because testing is more consistent in hospitals.”

The update said an average of seven cases were reported each day in the county, which was a 42 percent increase compared to the average two weeks ago. It also said that since the beginning of the pandemic, the county has seen a total of 12,836 reported cases.

The New York Times COVID-19 Tracker gave a COVID-19 update on Dec. 1 for the U.S. as well. The tracker said that cases, hospitalizations and test positivity are all going up nationally, “suggesting that the relative stability seen this fall could be coming to an end.”

It, however, also said daily case and death data “are subject to fluctuations around Thanksgiving” that don’t impact other metrics.

“It is therefore particularly concerning to see hospitalizations and test positivity — the most reliable data at this time of year — rising sharply,” the tracker said.

The tracker said “most states” have seen increases in hospitalizations in the last two weeks, with California and New Mexico seeing “especially pronounced” ones. But the tracker also said deaths have been going the opposite way as the average death number per day has gone down by 7 percent in recent weeks.

In other news, Highland County’s COVID-19 case rate stood at 196.9 cases per 100,000 in population over the previous two weeks, according to the Ohio Department of Health Coronavirus Dashboard, which was last updated Thursday. The case rate was below the state average of 197.5 cases per 100,000 in population over the same period, and ranks the county 37th among the state’s 88 counties in terms of the highest case rates.

In terms of vaccinations, Highland County is currently at 41.10 percent of the county’s residents that have started their vaccines, according to the ODH COVID-19 Vaccination Dashboard, which was last updated on Thursday. The state average for “vaccine started” is 64.45 percent.

In terms of completed vaccines, the state average is 59.74 percent, while the Highland County average is 38.07 percent.

The dashboard also said there have been 8,085 “first booster” doses and 2,814 “second booster” doses administered in the county on or after Aug. 12, to people that were already fully vaccinated.

It also said 2,449 people from Highland County have received the “updated bivalent booster.”

Reach Jacob Clary at 937-402-2570.

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