During Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine’s Tuesday coronavirus news briefing, he said that 7,580 new cases of COVID-19 had been reported by the Ohio Department of Health, bringing the state’s cumulative total since March to 735,003.
On one hand, the ODH reported 104 deaths since Monday, bringing the death toll since March to more than 9,000, while on the other hand reporting that 596,221 people that contracted COVID-19 had experienced a full recovery.
All four of the state indicators — cases, deaths, hospitalizations and patients in intensive care — were higher than the seven-day rolling average, especially hospitalizations, which increased by 538 with 44 being admitted to intensive care units.
In the region, Fayette, Brown, Clermont and Warren counties were on the list of the top 20 Ohio counties ranked by highest occurrence per population, placing fifth, sixth, seventh and eighth, respectively.
Clinton County placed No. 21 while Adams County occupied the 45th position. Highland County placed midway in those rankings, coming in 49th at 639.5 per 100,000 residents.
Nearby Pickaway County occupied the number one spot of Ohio’s 88 counties in the occurrences ranking, with 1,070.9 per 100,000 in population.
The dates ODH used in the rankings was for the period Dec. 21, 2020 through Jan. 3, 2021.
DeWine also addressed the Phase 1A program in nursing homes, saying that extended care facilities in Fairborn and Chillicothe had received the COVID-19 vaccine, with 61 percent of Ohio nursing homes having had visits by pharmacy representatives who gave the vaccine to staff and residents who wanted it.
He said he was hopeful that number would reach 80 percent by later in the week, but expressed concern that only about 40 percent of staff at nursing homes were getting inoculated, compared with 75 to 80 percent of residents.
The purpose of the Phase 1A vaccination program, which he said he hoped would be followed by Phase 1B in two weeks, was three-fold in purpose: to save lives and protect the most vulnerable of the population, to protect those “frontline workers” in the health care field, and to get those children forced into distance learning at home back into their classrooms by March 1.
If the next phase of the COVID-19 vaccination program begins in two weeks as DeWine hopes, it will be aimed at the older population who are most at risk of the virus and who may experience life-threatening situations due to underlying health conditions and age.
He said that Phase 1B vaccinations will include Ohioans over the age of 65, people with compromised medical or other health conditions, and K-12 school staff and teachers. But he added that schools not planning to reopen for in-person learning should not sign up for vaccinations.
Highland County Health Commissioner Jared Warner typically updates the local COVID-19 statistics in a Wednesday Facebook post.
Reach Tim Colliver at 937-402-2571.