Highland County Health Commissioner Jared Warner predicted that the number of COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations in Highland County will continue to rise in a Monday post to the Highland County Health Department’s Facebook page.
As of Monday, Warner reported that the number of patients hospitalized due to COVID-19 continued to increase “with no indication of a slow-down.”
Warner added that he expects to see an increase in new COVID-19 cases in the next 10 days due to Thanksgiving gatherings.
“These cases in turn are likely to increase hospitalization a little while later,” Warner wrote.
Warner also reported two additional deaths due to COVID-19 on Monday. There was no additional information available as of Tuesday.
Since May, there have 21 deaths due to COVID-19 in Highland County.
In school-related Covid information, Warner speculated that state health officials could implement changes for the winter sports season.
“Many larger school districts are already placing winter sports on hold for a month or so, and we might see some statewide rules come out regarding this,” Warner wrote.
He said that two local school sports teams were quarantined on Monday due to contact with “several positive cases” during a recent scrimmage.
“In general, we tend to see more disease spread in the sports and extracurricular setting than in the classroom setting, so there would appear to be some benefit in reducing extracurricular activities this winter,” Warner wrote. “I don’t have any answers right now, but there is a lot of attention on this topic currently across the state.”
The following are Highland County’s overall COVID-19 statistics as of Monday:
Highland County has had a total of 1,194 lab-confirmed and probable COVID-19 cases, according to the Highland County Health Department.
The health department reported that there were 287 actively sick patients. The health department is monitoring 398 Highland County residents for symptoms, though the health department urges those who know they have had close contact with a confirmed COVID-19 case to begin quarantine independently.
Those who have been exposed to COVID-19 should quarantine for 14 days from the last point of close contact.
Last week, Warner stated that the health department is no longer able to track the current number of patients hospitalized due to Covid. As of Tuesday, the Ohio Department of Health (ODH) reported 68 total hospitalizations due to COVID-19 in Highland County.
As of last week, 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 health emergencies, have “very high” COVID-19 exposure and spread.
As of last week, Highland County had 240 new cases in two weeks, or 556.06 new cases per 100,000 residents, according to the 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.
Following the OPHAS’s update last week, a total of four counties were rated as “purple” level 4 health emergencies.
Eleven 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.
For those in “purple” counties, residents should only leave home for essential supplies and services, according to the OPHAS.
No counties were rated as level 1 “yellow” counties, the lowest rate of exposure and spread.
According to the ODH, which reported 1,176 cumulative cases in the county as of Tuesday, of the cases in Highland County:
* 191 cases involved 50- to 59-year-olds. Of these cases, 10 resulted in hospitalization.
* 178 cases involved 60- to 69-year-olds. Of these cases, 13 resulted in hospitalization, and two resulted in death.
* 163 cases involved 40- to 49-year-olds. Of these cases, six resulted in hospitalization.
* 148 cases involved 20- to 29-year-olds. Of these cases, one resulted in hospitalization.
* 147 cases involved 70- to 79-year-olds. Of these cases, 22 resulted in hospitalization, and six resulted in death.
* 138 cases involved 30- to 39-year-olds. Of these cases, one resulted in hospitalization.
* 125 cases involved 0- to 19-year-olds. Of these cases, one resulted in hospitalization.
* 82 cases involved someone 80 years old or older. Of these cases, 14 resulted in hospitalization, and 10 resulted in death.
* Four cases involved patients of unknown ages.
As of Tuesday, a note on the ODH’s website read, “Today’s 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.”
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.