County COVID cases fall slightly

But trends might indicate a ‘growing outbreak’

By Jacob Clary - [email protected]

COVID-19 cases in Highland County have gone down considerably, according to the New York Times COVID Tracker. The tracker said Tuesday that the county was seeing 4.1 new cases per day, which is about 9.6 cases per 100,000 in population.

The last time The Times-Gazette reported on COVID-19 data, which was on Oct. 3, The New York Times COVID Tracker said the county was seeing 4.7 new cases per day, about 11 cases per 100,000 in population.

The tracker gave some of the latest trends for the county. It said that the community level of COVID-19 in the county is “low” based on cases and hospitalizations, according to the most recent Center for Disease Control (CDC) update on Oct. 13.

It also said the number of hospitalized COVID-19 patients has fallen in the county, with deaths staying about the same. However, it also said that the test positivity rate for the county is “very high.”

“Higher test positivity rates are a sign that many infections are not reported — even if they are tested for at home,” the tracker said. “This results in a more severe under count of cases. The number of hospitalized patients with COVID is a more reliable measure because testing is more consistent in hospitals.”

The update also said that since the beginning of the pandemic, the county has seen a total of 12,564 reported cases, and at least one in four residents have been infected.

The New York Times COVID-19 Tracker gave a COVID-19 update on Oct. 14 for the U.S. as well. The tracker said newly reported cases have fallen about 20 percent across the country in the last two weeks, with the average at fewer than 40,000 cases a day.

It also said cases are going down in “nearly” every state, with the states in the Midwest and the South seeing “some of the largest declines.” The tracker said hospitalizations are also falling in “most” states but have also seen them “ticked up” in the Northeast in recent weeks.

However, the test positivity rate has increased in “recent days” and has stayed relatively high after it fell “consistently” since July.

“If that trend continues, it could be an early sign of a growing outbreak in the U.S., similar to the ones seen this month in Canada and western Europe,” the tracker said.

In other news, Highland County’s COVID-19 case rate stood at 148.3 cases per 100,000 in population over the previous two weeks, according to the Ohio Department of Health Coronavirus Dashboard, which was last updated Thursday. The case rate was above the state average of 138.8 cases per 100,000 in population over the same period, and ranks the county 35th among the state’s 88 counties in terms of the highest case rates.

In terms of vaccinations, Highland County is currently at 40.84 percent of the county’s residents that have started their vaccines, according to the ODH COVID-19 Vaccination Dashboard, which was last updated on Thursday. The state average for “vaccine started” is 64.06 percent.

In terms of completed vaccines, the state average is 59.37 percent, while the Highland County average is 37.84 percent.

The dashboard also said there have been 7,882 “first booster” doses and 2,027 “second booster” doses administered in the county on or after Aug. 12, to people that were already fully vaccinated.

It also said 1,017 people from Highland County have received the “updated bivalent booster.”

Reach Jacob Clary at 937-402-2570.
But trends might indicate a ‘growing outbreak’

By Jacob Clary

[email protected]