Highland County sees drop in COVID-19 cases

COVID-19 cases in Highland County have fallen, according to the New York Times COVID Tracker. The tracker said Monday that the county was seeing 7.4 new cases per day, which is about 17 cases per 100,000 in population.

The last time The Times-Gazette reported on COVID-19 data, which was on Dec. 20, The New York Times COVID Tracker said the county was seeing 10 new cases per day, about 24 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 “medium” based on cases and hospitalizations, according to the most recent Center for Disease Control (CDC) update on Dec. 29.

It also said the number of hospitalized COVID-19 patients has fallen 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 “very 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 undercount 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 29 percent decrease compared to the average two weeks ago. It said that since the beginning of the pandemic, the county has seen a total of 13,087 reported cases.

The New York Times COVID-19 Tracker gave a COVID-19 update on Dec. 30 for the U.S. as well. The tracker said that “most” virus metrics have seen “little change this week,” but also said this was likely because of the “lull” in data reporting that happens around Christmas and New Year’s.

It also said that New York and New Jersey continue to have some of the country’s worst per-capita case rates, with Southern states like Kentucky and South Carolina also in the middle of “worsening conditions” as well.

“While most national data has been fairly flat in recent days, test positivity is rising sharply,” the tracker said. “This suggests that there are far more new cases circulating than what official reports show. Cases and hospitalizations may both increase next week when more regular reporting patterns resume.”

In other news, Highland County’s COVID-19 case rate stood at 250.2 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 above the state average of 232.4 cases per 100,000 in population over the same period, and ranks the county 33rd among the state’s 88 counties in terms of the highest case rates.

In terms of vaccinations, Highland County is currently at 41.17 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 64.59 percent.

In terms of completed vaccines, the state average is 59.87 percent, while the Highland County average is 38.14 percent.

The dashboard also said there have been 8,154 “first booster” doses and 3,051 “second booster” doses administered in the county on or after Aug. 12, to people that were already fully vaccinated.

It also said 2,843 people from Highland County have received the “updated bivalent booster.”

Reach Jacob Clary at 937-402-2570.