COVID-19 continues its downward trend in the county, according to Highland County Health Commissioner Jared Warner.
As of a Facebook post by Warner on Wednesday on the Highland County Health Department’s Facebook page, the county currently at 134.38 COVID-19 cases per 100,000 in population on a 14-day average. The update came the day before the one-year anniversary of the World Health Organization declaring COVID-19 a pandemic on March 11, 2020.
Warner said there has been a continued decrease in COVID-19 numbers for several weeks and “some occasional slowing of the decrease in case count.” He said other indicators like emergency department visits, outpatient visits and hospital admissions for the virus are now “extremely low.”
According to the Ohio Department of Health’s (ODH) COVID-19 Dashboard, last updated Thursday, Highland County has had 3,309 total cases, 176 hospitalizations, 51 deaths and 3,137 presumed recovered.
Warner said the county first opened the Highland County Emergency Operations Center on March 12, 2020 and has continued meeting weekly with the Highland County Emergency Management Agency (EMA) and other community partners since. According to Warner, the Highland County EMA has received more than 525,000 pieces of personal protective equipment (PPE) and filled requests for more than 58,000 PPE since the beginning of the pandemic.
“EMA Director Dave Bushelman’s leadership and support of the health department throughout this past year has been incredibly important to us and to the community,” Warner said.
According to ODH Public Health Advisory System as of Thursday, Highland County had 125.11 COVID-19 cases per 100,000 on a 14-day average. The county is also still in a “Red” Level 3 Public Emergency, meaning there is “very high exposure and spread” and people should limit their activities as much as possible.
In terms of vaccinations, Warner said they started with some difficulty due to limited supply and the number of people interested, but has moved toward “less demand and more supply.” He said the county is already looking at an “expected” decrease in demand as it lowers age group eligibility.
Warner also said the federal government announced enough vaccines will be available for every adult in the U.S. by the end of May.
He said that variants of the virus continue to be a concern, but is hopeful the increase in vaccinations will “blunt any case spikes” concerning the variants in Ohio.
According to ODH COVID-19 Vaccine Dashboard, 6.96 percent of the population in Highland County has completed its vaccinations, equaling 3,002 residents. The ODH considers someone completed with their vaccines when “an individual has received all recommended COVID-19 vaccine doses and is considered fully immunized.”
Following is a list of each age group and the percentage in Highland County that have completed their vaccines.
* 0-19 — Eight people have completed their vaccines which is 0.07 percent of the population.
* 20-29 — 110 people, 2.23 percent, have completed their vaccines.
* 30-39 — 182 people, or 3.78 percent, have completed their vaccines.
* 40-49 — 252 people, or 4.78 percent, have completed their vaccines.
* 50-59 — 344 people, or 5.94 percent, have completed their vaccines.
* 60-64 — 230 people, or 7.55 percent, have completed their vaccines.
* 65-69 — 179 people, or 6.91 percent, have completed their vaccines.
* 70-74 — 412 people, or 19.31 percent, have completed their vaccines.
* 75-79 — 451 people, or 30.03 percent, have completed their vaccines.
* 80 and over — 834 people, or 42.92 percent, have completed their vaccines.
“Case counts are now the lowest we have seen in Highland County since November of 2020, vaccination rates improve every day, and the light at the end of the tunnel is getting bright,” Warner said. “The community support over this past year has been remarkable, and it sets us apart from a lot of other Ohio counties. All the health department has to do is ask, and our community is ready to jump in and support us. No questions, no contracts, no cost involved. We have been truly blessed. This pandemic has highlighted for many of us what really matters, and it has underscored what makes our rural community so special. We aren’t going back to normal at the end of this, we are going back to better!”