Highland County Health Commissioner Jared Warner asked in the health department’s most recent Facebook post last week that local residents consider carefully whose advice they take concerning vaccinations and COVID-19. Warner said people should talk to their local doctors and that 96 percent of them in the U.S. are vaccinated.
Warner said he had three different versions of his closing statements to his COVID-19 update.
He said his first version was angry at the Highland County community for “taking pride” in ignoring public health and medical advice from the country’s best-trained medical and public health experts. He said it was “therapeutic,” but decided it wasn’t the right way to approach the situation.
Warner said his second version had an alarmist tone because he had just learned an old friend in his 40s died recently of COVID-19. He said this was the second person in their 40s he knew personally that had died in a week. He said that those two individuals had no underlying conditions and were not sick because of anything other than COVID-19. He said he doesn’t want other families to go through those kind of losses, but decided that closing statement was too emotional and anecdotal and deleted it as well.
Warner said he decided on the third version of his closing statement.
“Let’s say I fell off a ladder and hurt my leg, then visited 10 different doctors,” Warner said. “Nine out of 10 doctors told me it was broken and to get a cast, and one told me it wasn’t broken (and the ladder might be out to get me). What should I do? I am going to listen to the 9 medical providers that agree, and I am going to get that cast. With the ease of a Google search, we can find someone out there to say anything that we want to believe. That doesn’t mean that we should ignore the vast majority of experts telling us what we don’t want to hear.”
Warner said he saw what the county’s public nursing staff is going through at the moment. He said one of the nurses was out one day last week and he sat in her seat and took phone calls all day. He said it was a long day and had him feeling thankful for all of the county’s staff and the hard work they do.
“There is no health department without our staff of wonderful and hardworking people from all parts of our office,” Warner said. “I am so thankful for the team we have working with us.”
In other news, Warner said the health department expects to have full approval soon for the Pfizer booster doses for people over the age of 65, people at high risk for severe disease, and people whose occupations put them at high risk. He said “most of” the county’s early vaccinations were Moderna, but many of the nursing homes and some of the pharmacies used Pfizer.
Also, Warner said the county’s seven-day COVID-19 per 100,000 case rate was 732.14, which gave the county an average of 43 cases per day. He said that was an increase from the week before. However, he said the county had leveled off since its largest spike. He said that he hopes that could indicate that the county’s case count has already peaked and that it will see a “sharp” drop in cases like other areas that have seen delta surges.
He said about one in eight Highland County residents have had a confirmed or probable case of COVID-19. He said because of the number of rapid tests distributed and used in the county, that is “likely” an undercount of the real number of COVID-19 cases.
Later in the update, Warner said the county’s cumulative hospitalizations are now up to 291. He said the hospital situation in the county has improved “somewhat” because there are fewer current local COVID-19 hospitalizations. He also said that at the time he made the post last Thursday, there were 22 Highland County residents that were hospitalized.
Warner said Adena’s health care system has continued to be stretched and that hospitalizations and ICU occupancy numbers have continued to climb regionally. He also said the ICU capacity is still a “major concern” as a lot of facilities have had trouble transporting patients.
Warner said the deaths in Highland County have also increased to 81 people because of COVID-19. He also said the CDC has reported that the county’s positivity rate is 23.75 percent, which means that for every 100 COVID-19 tests performed, around 24 have come back with a positive.
Reach Jacob Clary at 937-402-2570.