Highland County is currently seeing a “slight increase” in its COVID-19 numbers, Highland County Health Commissioner Jared Warner said Wednesday.
In an update of the Highland County Health Department’s Facebook page, Warner said the slight increase puts Highland County “in line” with what the other counties in Southwest Ohio are seeing.
He said the case count for the county is at 83.41 cases per 100,000 in population. The county has had 36 new cases in the last two weeks, with total hospitalizations and deaths since the pandemic began at 185 and 60, respectively.
According to the Ohio Department of Health (ODH) Public Health Advisory System, which was last updated on Thursday, Highland County has had 90.36 COVID-19 cases per 100,000 in population on a 14-day average. Over the last two weeks, the system said the county has had 39 cases.
The county continues its stay in “Orange” Level 2 emergency status. Level 2 means “increased exposure and spread” and people should exercise a “high degree of caution.”
Warner also said that the county’s vaccination rate is about 23 percent compared to the state’s average of 38 percent.
“If we combine this vaccination rate with an estimated 25 percent who have had COVID-19, we are nowhere near estimated herd immunity rates,” Warner said. “This leaves over half of our population vulnerable to COVID-19.”
According to a Wednesday update from Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine, although cases have “plateaued,” the new virus variants are more contagious among people that haven’t been vaccinated.
“Unvaccinated Ohioans lack the same protection against this virus as those who are vaccinated,” Dr. Bruce Vanderhoff, chief medical officer at the ODH, said. “The virus is now in more contagious forms that put younger people at much greater risk, including the risk of ending up in the hospital. Essentially, the new variants have evolved to stick much more easily to our cells, so it takes less of the virus and less exposure to make one sick. Add to that the fact that more older Ohioans have been vaccinated, and it adds up to mean that if you’re young and unvaccinated, what may not have been much of a concern to you this fall should be a concern now.”
In the update, Vanderhoff also warned Ohioans that they shouldn’t “count on” herd immunity until more people get vaccinated.
DeWine has also introduced three new public service announcements that encourage Ohio residents to get vaccinated. These three PSAs are titled:
* What’s in the Vaccine?
* Take Your Shot
Reach Jacob Clary at 937-402-2570.