COVID-19 case numbers are looking good and the Highland County’s per capita virus rate fell below 100 per 100,000 in population for the first time since November, health commissioner Jared Warner said in a Monday post to the health department’s’s Facebook page.
“If these trends hold steady, we could see a drop to yellow, the lowest risk category for the state’s PH advisory system on Thursday this week,” Warner wrote.
Warner said case counts in Europe as well as U.S. states including Michigan, Florida and Colorado that have been seeing spikes in COVID-19 cases recently are concerning. He said that cases are up by 9 percent globally over the last week, which makes the seventh straight week the global case count has increased.
“CDC has also announced that the B.1.1.7 UK Variant of COVID-19 is now the dominant strain in the U.S., which means that a majority of new cases will be from this strain,” Warner wrote.
He also noted that “we are seeing a large number of younger people” getting diagnosed and hospitalized in the U.S. recently, which Warner said was due to that age group having the least amount of access to vaccines to date. To combat that issue, Warner said the health department is working with local school systems to see how many local 16- and 17-year-olds are looking to get vaccinated.
“I don’t talk about potential disease spikes to throw out any doom and gloom here, but to encourage all of us to continue taking common-sense, simple precautions to protect ourselves in the coming weeks,” Warner wrote. “Ideally, we would also see more people choose to be vaccinated, as higher vaccine rates will help prevent future disease spikes. If our community continues to show low interest in vaccines, then we at least need to maintain our other preventive measures a little longer.”
Warner also said the Ohio Department of Health (ODH) revised some of its health orders last week, writing that “there has been some confusion” on how the orders were released. He said the ODH first rescinded all its existing orders and then released new orders to replace them. According to new guidelines from the ODH, if an organization holds an outdoor event, it must be in groups of 10 people or less, keeping those groups six feet apart from other groups and everyone at the outdoor event has to be masked if people from separate households can’t maintain separation from others consistently.
“As you can imagine, these requirements are hard for an event to enforce,” Warner wrote. “It also makes planning for future events very difficult when new orders get released with no notice, and when event planners have no idea what might be coming in the future. We all want to get back to normal quickly, but please be patient with event organizers who are hesitant to invest money and time into events that may be canceled by the state with little notice.”
In statewide virus news, Ohio COVID-19 vaccine providers have been advised to temporarily pause the use of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, according to a joint statement from Gov. Mike DeWine, Ohio Department of Health (ODH) Director Stephanie McCloud and ODH Chief Medical Office Bruce Vanderhoff.
According to DeWine, the pause is in response to a statement from the Food and Drug Administration and Centers for Disease Control (CDC), who both recommend the Johnson & Johnson vaccine be paused after “extremely rare blood-clotting events of six people” in the U.S. following receiving their vaccine. According to the CDC on Tuesday, 7,233,726 Johnson & Johnson vaccines have been administered.
Reach Jacob Clary at 937-402-2570.