COVID-19 cases dip slightly in county

COVID-19 cases in Highland County have gone up somewhat, according to the New York Times COVID Tracker. The tracker said Tuesday that the county was seeing 5.1 new cases per day, which is about 12 cases per 100,000 in population.

The last time The Times-Gazette reported on COVID-19 data, which was on Feb. 21, The New York Times COVID Tracker said the county was seeing 6.7 new cases per day, about 16 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 Feb. 23.

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 also 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 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 also said an average of five cases were reported each day in the county, which was an 18-percent decrease compared to the average two weeks ago. It also said that since the beginning of the pandemic, the county has seen a total of 13,459 reported cases.

The New York Times COVID-19 Tracker gave a COVID-19 update on Feb. 24 for the U.S. as well. The tracker said that cases, hospitalizations and test positivity rates are all “flat” nationally. However, it also said there are some regional differences among those statistics.

Concerning the Northeast, the tracker said conditions have been improving, especially in states like Connecticut and New Jersey. It said that in those two states, hospitalizations and cases have gone down by 15 percent or more in the last two weeks.

However, in states further west like Nebraska and Utah, cases and hospitalizations have seen increases since the middle of February.

“Reported death figures have been artificially low in recent weeks due to delays in processing data from a C.D.C. source,” the tracker said.

In other news, Highland County’s COVID-19 case rate stood at 183.0 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 135.4 cases per 100,000 in population over the same period, and ranks the county 11th 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 64.77 percent.

In terms of completed vaccines, the state average is 60.04 percent, while the Highland County average is 38.16 percent.

The dashboard also said there have been 8,189 “first booster” doses and 3,159 “second booster” doses administered in the county on or after Aug. 12, to people that were already fully vaccinated.

It also said 3,073 people from Highland County have received the “updated bivalent booster.”

Reach Jacob Clary at 937-402-2570.