Warner concerned not enough want vaccinated


All Highland County residents will be eligible by March 29

By Jacob Clary - jclary@aimmediamidwest.com



Local health care providers prepare to help the Highland County Health Department vaccinate Highland County residents on Thursday at the YMCA in Hillsboro.

Local health care providers prepare to help the Highland County Health Department vaccinate Highland County residents on Thursday at the YMCA in Hillsboro.


About 490 people were scheduled to receive a COVID-19 vaccination during a clinic held Thursday at the local YMCA, according to Highland County Health Commissioner Jared Warner.

“It’s been really exciting,” Warner said. “Glad to have the chance to increase the age eligibility, and it’s also good to get a lot more vaccine coming into the county. So, there’s a lot more of available vaccine for us. March 29, the governor’s going to go full-open eligibility for anybody in Highland County that’s interested, so we’re excited to get there and we’ll be looking at some different ways to make sure there are no barriers to anybody getting in to get vaccines.”

According to a Wednesday update from the Highland County Health Department, all the vaccines the health department currently has are Moderna. Warner said he doesn’t know when more Johnson and Johnson vaccines will be available. He said he heard, however, that some local pharmacies could be getting some through federal programs.

“There is a lot of conversation currently about where our total percentage of population vaccinated will be when we are finished,” Warner said. “It is hard to guess, but some local health care agencies reporting only 30 percent of their staff being interested in vaccine. As vaccine opens up to all adults later this month, we will get a better idea of what vaccine demand is going to look like down the road. I am concerned that our overall percentage of population vaccinated is going to be well short of the governor’s goals.”

Warner said all residents of Highland County will be eligible to get the vaccine by March 29, but if next week’s clinic doesn’t fill its 300 spots, the health department will look to open it to any interested adult “a few days earlier’ than when Gov. Mike DeWine planned.

Warner also said the health department expects a large regional vaccine clinic to open at the Wilmington Air Park at the end of March, which will include weekend hours and be run by Kroger.

According to the ODH dashboard on Thursday, 16.33 percent of the population in Highland County has started its vaccinations, equaling 7,048 residents. The ODH considers started as “when an individual has received at least one valid dose of COVID-19 vaccine.”

The dashboard lists the following COVID-19 figures for various age groups in Highland County:

* 0-19 — 19 people, or 0.17 percent, have started their vaccines.

* 20-29 — 196 people, or 3.97 percent, have started their vaccines.

* 30-39 — 321 people, or 6.66 percent, have started their vaccines.

* 40-49 — 475 people, or 9.01 percent, have started their vaccines.

* 50-59 — 936 people, or 16.16 percent, have started their vaccines.

* 60-64 — 967 people, or 31.74 percent, have started their vaccines.

* 65-69 — 1,130 people, or 43.65 percent, have started their vaccines.

* 70-74 — 1,088 people, or 50.98 percent, have started their vaccines.

* 75-79 — 820 people, or 54.59 percent, have started their vaccines.

* 80 and over — 1,096 people, or 56.41 percent, have started their vaccines.

According to the dashboard, 8.81 percent of the population in Highland County has completed its vaccinations, equaling 3,802 people. The ODH considers completed when “an individual has received all recommended COVID-19 vaccine doses and is considered fully immunized.”

The dashboard lists the following COVID-19 figures for various age groups in Highland County:

* 0-19 — Eight people, or 0.07 percent, have completed their vaccines.

* 20-29 — 119 people, or 2.41 percent, have completed their vaccines.

* 30-39 — 205 people, or 4.25 percent, have completed their vaccines.

* 40-49 — 281 people, or 5.33 percent, have completed their vaccines.

* 50-59 — 463 people, or 8.00 percent, have completed their vaccines.

* 60-64 — 345 people, or 11.32 percent, have completed their vaccines.

* 65-69 — 360 people, or 13.90 percent, have completed their vaccines.

* 70-74 — 592 people, or 27.74 percent, have completed their vaccines.

* 75-79 — 542 people, or 36.09 percent, have completed their vaccines.

* 80 and over — 887 people, or 45.65 percent, have completed their vaccines.

In other news, COVID-19 cases have leveled off. Warner said the county’s case rate is “bouncing around” the 120s and is currently at 129 cases per 100,000 residents. Warner also said the county has 72 people that are currently sick with the virus, which is an increase from recent lows in the county.

According to the dashboard, since the pandemic began Highland County has had 3,348 total COVID-19 cases, 178 hospitalizations, 54 deaths and 3,185 presumed recovered from the virus.

According to ODH’s Public Health Advisory System, last updated Thursday, Highland County has 157.55 COVID-19 cases per 100,000 residents on a 14-day average. That is still in a “Red” Level 3 Public Emergency, meaning there is “very high exposure and spread” in the county and people should limit their activities as much as possible.

Warner said several European countries have enacted new lockdowns due to the United Kingdom COVID-19 variant and an ensuing case count increase.

“It is very hard to predict whether Ohio will see a spike in cases this summer as this variant moves through the country,” Warner said. “There are still some leading epidemiologists predicting a spike in cases over the next few weeks. I hope not.”

Reach Jacob Clary at 937-402-2570.

Local health care providers prepare to help the Highland County Health Department vaccinate Highland County residents on Thursday at the YMCA in Hillsboro.
https://www.timesgazette.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/33/2021/03/web1_Vaccine-pic.jpgLocal health care providers prepare to help the Highland County Health Department vaccinate Highland County residents on Thursday at the YMCA in Hillsboro.
All Highland County residents will be eligible by March 29

By Jacob Clary

jclary@aimmediamidwest.com