The average number of active cases in Highland County has remained consistent over the last week, Highland County Health Commissioner Jared Warner reported Wednesday. The health department saw 13 to 18 new cases each day.
Warner also reported longer timeframes for test results. Community members may wait four to five days to get their COVID-19 test results.
In the meantime, Warner urged community members who are experiencing COVID-19 symptoms to isolate.
“I want to remind everyone that if you are symptomatic and decide to get COVID-19 tested, we ask you to isolate yourself until the test results are returned,” Warner said Wednesday. “If you are sick and decide not to get COVID-19 testing, stay home while you are sick.”
The Highland County Health Department was closed on Friday due to the holiday.
The following are Highland County’s overall COVID-19 statistics as of Wednesday:
Highland County has had a total of 1,100 lab-confirmed and probable COVID-19 cases, Warner reported.
The health department reported that there were 217 actively sick patients, and the health department is monitoring 353 Highland County residents for symptoms.
According to Warner, the health department no longer has the ability to manually track the current number of COVID-19-related cases due to the volume of active cases.
As of Wednesday, Highland County remained a “red” county with high case incidence, according to the Ohio Public Health Advisory System (OPHAS).
“Red” counties, which OPHAS also classifies as level 3 public emergencies, have “very high” COVID-19 exposure and spread.
“Highland County currently trips 4 indicators out of 7, so we will remain in red for at least the next couple of weeks,” Warner wrote. “All of us in public health are concerned about what things will look like here in the next two weeks. There are a lot of Thanksgiving get-togethers that are going to happen this weekend, and we expect to see some case spikes as a result.”
In the past two weeks, Highland County has had 240 new cases, or 556.06 new cases per 100,000 residents, according to OPHAS.
Warner previously stated that the county must have under 100 new cases per 100,000 residents to decrease from a “red” rating.
Out of Ohio’s 88 counties, 75 counties were rated as “red” counties; nine counties were rated as level 2 “orange” counties.
This week, three more counties turned “purple.”
Last week, Franklin County became the first level 4 “purple” county, which designates severe exposure and spread. This week, Lake, Lorain and Montgomery counties were also rated as “purple” counties.
As of Wednesday, 11 additional counties — including nearby Adams, Clermont, Hamilton, and Warren counties — are at risk of upgrading to a “purple” level 4 rating in the following week.
Those in “purple” counties residents should only leave home for essential supplies and services, according to OPHAS.
No counties were rated as level 1 “yellow” counties, the lowest rate of exposure and spread.
In the last week, Ohio hospitals have seen a 19 percent increase in COVID-19 hospitalizations, according to the Ohio Hospital Association as of Wednesday. This is an increase of 119 percent over the last 21 days and an increase of 608 percent over the last 60 days.
“Staffing concerns remain an issue with many hospitals,” Warner wrote Wednesday. “I have heard that many hospital facilities are making additional internal changes to their facility to prepare for an expected increase in cases.”
As of Friday, a note on the Ohio Department of Health’s (ODH) website stated, “Today’s data includes those cases that would have been reported on Thanksgiving. Additionally, the data is incomplete. Because of unprecedented volume, thousands of reports are pending review. Please bear with us as we work through this surge in testing.”
According to the ODH, which reported 1,081 cumulative cases in the county as of Friday, of the cases in Highland County:
* 171 cases involved 50- to 59-year-olds. Of these cases, 10 resulted in hospitalization.
* 167 cases involved 60- to 69-year-olds. Of these cases, 11 resulted in hospitalization, and two resulted in death.
* 147 cases involved 40- to 49-year-olds. Of these cases, six resulted in hospitalization.
* 149 cases involved 70- to 79-year-olds. Of these cases, 21 resulted in hospitalization, and six resulted in death.
* 137 cases involved 20- to 29-year-olds. Of these cases, one resulted in hospitalization.
* 122 cases involved 0- to 19-year-olds. Of these cases, one resulted in hospitalization.
* 115 cases involved 30- to 39-year-olds. Of these cases, one resulted in hospitalization.
* 80 cases involved someone 80 years old or older. Of these cases, 13 resulted in hospitalization, and 10 resulted in death.
* Two cases involved patients of unknown ages.
Warner previously stated that there is a delay in the reporting process between individual counties and the ODH.
Reach McKenzie Caldwell at 937-402-2570.