COVID cases continue to rise in Highland Co.


12 new cases confirmed since Friday

By McKenzie Caldwell - mcaldwell@aimmediamidwest.com



Highland County has had a total of 169 lab-confirmed and probable COVID-19 cases as of Monday, according to the Highland County Health Department.

In a Facebook post, the health department stated that probable cases “includes clinical presentation, epidemiological link, or FDA-approved antigen/antibody test.” The health department has documented 10 such cases in Highland County since the pandemic began.

On Friday, the health department announced in a Facebook post that there had been 157 total cases.

As of Monday, the health department reported that there are 29 patients who are actively sick and eight currently hospitalized in connection with COVID-19 — a total of 139 patients have recovered.

According to the Ohio Department of Health, of the cases in Highland County as of Monday:

* 26 cases involved 60- to 69-year-olds, three of whom were hospitalized.

* 28 cases involved 50- to 59-year-olds, two of whom were hospitalized.

* 28 cases involved 40- to 49-year-olds, two of whom were hospitalized.

* 25 cases involved 70- to 79-year-olds, six of whom were hospitalized.

* 21 cases involved 20- to 29-year-olds, one of whom was hospitalized.

* 13 cases involved 0- to 19-year-olds, one of whom was hospitalized.

* 11 cases involved 30- to 39-year-olds, one of whom was hospitalized.

* 3 cases involved someone 80 years old or older, all of whom were hospitalized and one of whom later died.

* 2 cases involved someone of an unknown age range.

As of Monday, there had been 101,731 COVID-19 cases in Ohio since the pandemic began — 11,629 of which resulted in hospitalization and 3,673 of which resulted in death. A total of 79,321 patients are presumed recovered, which the ODH defines as cases that have over 21 days since the onset of COVID-19 symptoms and that did not result in death.

Highland County remains at a level 2 public emergency, which represents increased COVID-19 exposure and spread, according to the ODH’s public health advisory system.

As of Aug. 6, the ODH indicated that the county has met three risk indicators: the risk indicator for an increase in new cases per capita in the last two weeks, or “Indicator 1”; the risk indicator for the number of cases in a non-congregate setting, or “Indicator 3”; and the risk indicator for a sustained increase in the number of patients with COVID-like illness or symptoms visiting emergency departments, “Indicator 4,” which is flagged after a county experiences a sustained increase for five or more consecutive days.

In mid-July, Highland County also met the risk indicator that monitors the level of ICU bed occupancy, or “Indicator 7,” which is flagged “if the percentage of the occupied ICU beds in each region goes above 80 percent for at least three days in the last week, AND more than 20 percent of ICU beds are being used for COVID-19 positive patients for at least three days in the last week. Provides an indication of the capacity available to manage a possible surge of severely ill patients.”

In a previous interview, Warner expressed concern for a potential increase in the number of hospitalizations in the county.

“Everyone wants to focus on the fatality rate — that’s where they want to end the conversation. People keep forgetting the hospitalization rates that tend to be associated with this,” Warner said. “When we look at a population like Highland County that, as far as we can tell, is pretty sheltered from feeling the effects of this virus, there are a lot of people who could potentially get sick.”

According to Warner, about 12 to 14 percent of confirmed COVID-19 cases result in hospitalization, which can overwhelm health care systems as providers continue to receive patients with non-COVID-related health issues as well.

“I’ve seen graphs all over Facebook too that say, ‘This is how many people live in Ohio, and this is the number of people who have been impacted — why are they making such a big deal about it?’ Part of the reason we’re making a big deal is that most of the people who have not been impacted have also not been exposed,” Warner said. “They have no immunity, and we have very little treatment available to us. There’s really no prevention — no vaccine or anything like that. We have to take it seriously because we know it has a higher hospitalization rate. It’s also nine to 10 times more deadly than the flu. It’s not something to panic about, but it does require a little bit of a different approach from a public health perspective.”

Other risk indicators include a sustained increase in new cases; a sustained increase in outpatient visits involving patients with COVID-like symptoms who then receive a confirmed or suspected diagnosis; and a sustained increase in new COVID-19 hospital admissions.

For more information about these indicators, visit coronavirus.ohio.gov/wps/portal/gov/covid-19/public-health-advisory-system/.

For more information about the COVID-19 pandemic in Ohio, visit coronavirus.ohio.gov.

Reach McKenzie Caldwell at 937-402-2570.

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12 new cases confirmed since Friday

By McKenzie Caldwell

mcaldwell@aimmediamidwest.com