The number of new COVID-19 cases has leveled off after a downward trend the last couple weeks, but the percentage of Covid parents that on a ventilators rose from 75 percent to 82 percent, Highland County Health Commissioner Jared Warner said Friday in his most recent comments on the health department’s Facebook page.
Warner also said because of school staff being vaccinated, the supply of vaccines will be lower over the next few weeks. He said he does not know what that means for the 65 and older group, but said it might limit the supply for this group. This group is scheduled to start getting vaccinated in the week beginning with Feb. 8, which Warner said means that 8,000 Highland County residents will begin to look for a vaccine.
“By arbitrarily establishing a vaccine schedule that expands the eligible age groups every week before the previous group has been vaccinated, Ohio has set up a system designed to fail (maybe that is too blunt of a statement, we will see if someone calls to yell at me this weekend),” Warner said. “We are going to do our best to play with the rules we are given, but we ask for your patience as we work through coordination of our extremely limited vaccination spots. Eventually, anyone who wants a vaccine will get one, but it will be a while before we get there.”
He said that the percentage of supply used is more important than the number of doses given.
“Vaccine providers can’t give what they don’t have, so the real question should be, “How many doses did you receive, and how many of those doses have you administered so far?” Warner wrote.
In January, the Highland County Health Department got 800 vaccine doses, and as of Friday, Warner said 770 of those vaccines had been used.
According to the ODH’s Public Health Advisory System, last updated on Jan. 26, Highland County is still at Level 3 on the system’s four-level scale. This means the county has “very high exposure and spread” and that people should limit their activities as much as possible. The county currently sits at 604.71 COVID-19 cases per 100,000.
Out of the 88 counties in Ohio, 84 of them are also in the Level 3 stage. The other four not in this stage are in the Level 2 stage, which means “increased exposure and spread” and people should exercise a high degree of caution. All these counties have also been listed as having high case incidence.”
In a Saturday, news release, Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine said that in many instances, a vial of the Pfizer vaccine can provide six vaccine doses. Some vaccine providers have been able to extract this sixth dose as much as 90 percent of the time based on technique and supplies.
DeWine also announced that in pursuit of fairness and equity in the distribution of the scarce vaccines, Ohio will be delivering vaccines directly into affordable senior housing locations starting the week of Feb. 8. These senior housing facilities are home to several thousand older Ohioans throughout the state and are often residential clusters with apartment buildings ranging in units from 30 to over 200.
The Ohio Department of Health will be working with local partners to offer assistance through onsite clinics. These clinics will help ease the burden for many seniors having trouble navigating the registration process and arranging transportation, the news release said.
Reach Jacob Clary at 937-402-2570.