Highland County is the 17th ranked of Ohio’s 88 counties in terms of COVID-19 cases per 100,000 population from Jan. 6 to Jan. 19.
Adjusted to a population of 100,000, Highland County has had 692.8 cases in that time, according to the Ohio Department of Health.
Highland County has had 299 cases of COVID-19 during the above period, with the population of the county tallying up to 43,161, which the site says is from the 2019 U.S. Census Bureau.
Counties are graded based on a four-level color system, from the yellow of Level 1 to the purple of Level 4. Levels 2 and 3 are orange and red, respectively. Of the 88 counties in Ohio, 83 counties were still in the red, while four were yellow and one in purple on Friday.
Highland County is currently in the red, which means the county has very high exposure and spread and people should limit activities as much as possible.
There are multiple indicators the state uses to gauge the possible spread of the virus, seven of them listed on the ODH’s Ohio Public Health Advisory System. Highland County had a seven-day case average of 16.14, as of Jan. 19. The county also had a seven-day hospitalization average of 0.29 and a seven-day average of emergency department visits based on COVID-like illnesses or symptoms of 0.57, which are Indicators 6 and 4, respectively. Highland County has met two of the indicators.
The first is cases per 100,000 and the second the county is ICU bed occupancy, which detects if the percentage of ICU beds occupied is over 80 percent and if 20 percent of those beds are occupied by people with COVID-19. As of Jan. 19, the Highland County OCU rate was 81.21 percent capacity, with 27.65 percent of those with COVID-19.
Highland County Health Commissioner Jared Warner said Wednesday that while there is hope Highland County has weathered the post-Christmas bump in Covid cases, there are also concerns of other Covid strains that might lead to more cases. Warner said the county does not have the capacity for “specific genetic COVID-19 variations.”
Warner also said that Phase 1B of COVID-19 vaccinations started this week and that those in the age 75 and over group will begin next week.
For county residents 75 or older can register to get the vaccine online at https://forms.gle/13b2xEpJqoQrdxAfA or call the Highland County Health Department’s Central Scheduling System at 1-866-395-1588. Warner said that walk-ins are not available, and people need to have appointments to get a vaccine.
“I again want to ask for your patience,” Warner said. “We do not have enough vaccine to satisfy all of the people who want it. We do not have enough phone lines to answer everyone’s call on the first try. We are going to get farther behind in the following weeks as we potentially expand our age ranges. There isn’t much I can do about this except to clearly and directly tell everyone that it is going to be messy, frustrating and difficult. We have roughly 8,000 people over 65 in Highland County, and we are getting 300-500 doses of vaccine a week. If you do the math on that, you can see why we just aren’t currently going to be able to vaccinate everyone who is interested. At 500 doses a week, it will be roughly four months before we are finished with Phase 1B.”
Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine gave an update Thursday on vaccinations and the acquisition of more rapid tests on the ODH website. DeWine said the state purchased two million at-home, rapid COVID-19 tests which use telehealth services to give patients their results in minutes and don’t need to be sent to a lab.
“Abbott has been a valued partner throughout this pandemic and this new partnership will help us continue aggressive testing at colleges and universities, and pursue access to rapid testing in every county in Ohio,” DeWine said. “These tests, combined with the telehealth solutions provided by eMed, will provide equitable access to testing for those who may not be able to access traditional testing because of their working hours, have mobility or transportation issues, or have caregiving responsibilities.”
According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), as of Thursday more than 4,000 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine had been administered per 100,000 people. There had been a total of 37,960,000 vaccines distributed in the United States while 17,546,374 of those had been administered.
Reach Jacob Clary at 937-402-2522.