County continues sees COVID rates fall


COVID-19 cases in Highland County have continued their downward turn, according to the New York Times COVID Tracker. The tracker said Tuesday that the county was seeing 2.3 new cases per day, which is about 5.3 cases per 100,000 in population.

The last time The Times-Gazette reported on COVID-19 data, which was on March 15, The New York Times COVID Tracker said the county was seeing 3.6 new cases per day, about 8.3 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 March 16.

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 “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 two cases were reported each day in the county, which was a 24-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 13,521 reported cases.

The New York Times COVID-19 Tracker gave a COVID-19 update on March 17 for the U.S. as well. The tracker said that reported cases, hospitalizations and deaths have all gone down nationally over the last two weeks.

The tracker also said hospitalizations “have been falling steadily for several weeks” and that the number is now just under 23,000 nationally, the lowest case rate since May of last year. The tracker said that in states like Alabama and Montana, hospitalizations have gone down by more than 35 percent since early March.

It also said test positivity has gone down “quite sharply” in the last two weeks.

“This is a promising sign that the declines in other areas are unlikely to change course in the immediate future,” the tracker said.

Highland County’s COVID-19 case rate stood at 92.7 cases per 100,000 in population over the previous two weeks, according to the Ohio Department of Health Coronavirus Dashboard. The case rate was below the state average of 117.9 cases per 100,000 in population over the same period, and ranks the county 63rd among the state’s 88 counties in terms of the highest case rates.

In terms of vaccinations, Highland County is currently at 41.16 percent of the county’s residents that have started their vaccines, according to the ODH COVID-19 Vaccination Dashboard. The state average for “vaccine started” is 64.81 percent.

In terms of completed vaccines, the state average is 60.09 percent, while the Highland County average is 38.14 percent.

The dashboard said there have been 8,192 “first booster” doses and 3,172 “second booster” doses administered in the county on or after Aug. 12, to people that were already fully vaccinated.

It also said 3,098 people from Highland County have received the “updated bivalent booster.”

Reach Jacob Clary at 937-402-2570.

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