Cases and COVID-19 variant spread are on the rise, according to Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine, who said that in terms of cases, Ohio’s two-week case rate has risen to 167.1 cases per 100,000 residents after the past two Thursdays when it was under 150 cases per 100,000.
DeWine said that new cases were “relatively flat” in March, but have started increasing again. He said 56 of the state’s 88 counties showed case increases. He noted that this “demonstrates the necessity” for Ohioans to get vaccinated and that about 30 percent have received at least one dose of the vaccine. DeWine announced that as the state gets more vaccines, it will give more of them to areas that are seeing case spikes or increases in vaccine demand.
In terms of cases in Highland County, the Ohio Department of Health (ODH) has a system that documents how each school in the county is fairing with COVID-19. New cases are reported by the most recent week, defined as the previous Monday through Sunday. It was last updated on Thursday and said:
* Bright Local has had one new student case, but no new staff cases.
* Fairfield Local has had one new student case, but no new staff cases.
* Greenfield Exempted has had one new student case, but no new staff cases.
* Highland County Board of DD has had no new student or staff cases.
* Hillsboro Christian Academy Preschool and Private School have had no new student or staff cases.
* Hillsboro City has had two new student cases, but no new staff cases.
* Lynchburg-Clay Local has had one new student case, but no new staff cases.
* Neither St. Mary Catholic Preschool nor Private School have had new student or staff cases.
* Stonewall Academy has not had any new student or staff cases.
Dr. Bruce Vanderhoff, chief medical officer at ODH, said COVID-19 variants continue to rise in the state, “mirroring” the same in the rest of the U.S. He said Michigan currently has 3.5 times higher case increase than in recent week and that the Center for Disease Control (CDC) said this was driven by variants. He said most of Ohio’s climbing case numbers, as well as variant cases, are in the areas bordering Michigan.
“Ohio remains in a race against a virus that is now more contagious and right back on our heels,” Vanderhoff said. “We can win this race as long as we don’t falter; as long as we press on with consistent masking and vaccination, especially in light of this week’s important and encouraging research out of the CDC confirming that the vaccines are powerful protection against COVID-19 and its variants.”
In other news, DeWine announced the state is going to start working with employers and other organizations so they can offer workplace vaccination clinics throughout the state. Starting in the week of April 12, vaccine providers can put aside 25 percent of their vaccine allocation so it can be used to vaccinate their own employees or partner with other local employers, labor unions as well as other organizations to vaccinate their employees at their locations.
The governor said Ohio is starting to work with local colleges and universities and will offer vaccination clinics on campuses in the state. He said they will begin next week across various campuses and offer the one-dose Johnson and Johnson vaccine.
“Although young people are less likely to get sick from the coronavirus, they are significant carriers of the virus,” DeWine said. “By offering one-dose clinics on campus, students who wish to be vaccinated will have a nearby, convenient location to get the vaccine with their peers.”
Reach Jacob Clary at 937-402-2570.