Athens County’s new COVID-19 cases continue to climb, according to the latest statistics from the Ohio Department of Health.
Morgan County also saw a jump, while Washington County remained steady and Monroe and Noble decreased.
Athens County reported 621 new cases from Aug. 25 to Sept. 7. That’s a rate of 950.6 per 100,000, although local health officials have said positive cases among Ohio University students are included even though they aren’t counted among the county’s 65,327 residents.
The rate was the third-highest among Ohio’s 88 counties. From Aug. 18-31, Athens County posted 472 new cases for a rate of 722.5, eighth highest in the state.
Morgan County’s new case total rose by just 16, from 43 to 59, but that increased the rate for the county of 14,508 residents from 296.4 to 406.7 per 100,000. That moved Morgan from 78th to 36th in the state.
Morgan pushed ahead of Washington County, population 59,911, which posted 236 new cases in the most recent period and 235 in the prior span. Its rate barely moved — from 392.2 to 393.9 — and its rank rose from 40th to 38th.
A decrease of six new cases dropped Monroe County, population 13,654, from 54th to 63rd. There were 43 new cases in the most recent two-week period for a rate of 314.9 per 100,000. In the previous period, there were 49 new cases and a rate of 358.9.
Noble County had one of the lowest rates in the state over the last two weeks, with 35 cases for a rate of 242.7 per 100,000 that ranked 85th. The county of 14,424 residents reported 44 new cases in the previous span and a rate of 305 per 100,000 that ranked 76th.
The statewide rate dropped from 377.2 per 100,000 to 361.8.
Washington County moved to “medium” on the COVID Community Levels posted weekly by the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Under that classification, the CDC recommends people at greater risk for significant illness consult with their health care provider about what precautions to take, including masking.
Washington County had been at the “high” level for several weeks. In that case, the CDC recommends people wear masks in indoor, public spaces.
Monroe County returned to high after being classified as low last week. Athens, Morgan and Noble counties remained at medium.
The CDC bases the community levels on the number of new cases per 100,000 people in the previous seven days and hospital admissions and inpatient bed occupancy.
Marietta Memorial Hospital reported 14 COVID-positive patients Friday.
Dr. Bruce Vanderhoff, director of the Ohio Department of Health, said in an online briefing Thursday that although the state is seeing about 25,000 new COVID cases a week, hospitalizations remain low and resources are not being stretched thin.
“Most of the people are not getting seriously ill,” he said. “Sadly, we still lose about a dozen lives to this illness in Ohio every day.”
Vanderhoff said approximately 6.2 million Ohio adults have completed the initial COVID vaccination series but only about 3.6 million have received a booster shot.
“Data has shown us that getting a booster can be crucial in terms of building long-lasting immunity,” he said.
Vanderhoff said shipments of the new boosters tailored toward omicron variants as well as the original strain have arrived in Ohio. People looking to get the shots should contact their local health department or pharmacies, he said.
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