Morgan County COVID rate remains highest in Ohio | News, Sports, Jobs

Morgan County had the highest rate of new COVID-19 cases among Ohio’s 88 counties for the second week in a row, though the total cases decreased slightly.

According to data released Thursday by the Ohio Department of Health, Morgan County reported 45 new cases from Nov. 17-30. In the county with 14,508 residents, that equates to 310.2 per 100,000 people.

That’s down from 324 per 100,000, the rate the county had from Nov. 9-22 when 47 new cases were recorded. At that point, the rise was due primarily to an outbreak at Riverside Landing Nursing and Rehabilitation, a nursing home in McConnelsville.

ODH data on Thursday showed no active cases at that facility.

Since the averages cover two-week periods that overlap by a week, it’s possible a large number of the cases were recorded for both periods. A call to the Morgan County Health Department was not immediately returned.

Monroe County, population 13,654, had the fourth-highest rate in the state with 278.3 per 100,000 on 38 new cases over the last two weeks. In the previous period, the county recorded 25 new cases and its rate of 183.1 was 16th in the state.

Washington County’s new cases rose from 73 to 102 among its 59,911 residents, pushing its rate from 121.8 per 100,000 (70th) to 170.3 (63rd).

Athens County, population 65,327, also saw an increase in case and rate, but it was outpaced by other counties. Athens had 105 new cases and a rate of 160.7, which ranked 68th. In the previous period, the county had 94 new cases and a rate of 143.9, which ranked 53rd.

Noble County remained second from the bottom with a rate of 55.5 per 100,000 after eight cases were reported among its 14,424 residents. Five new cases and a rate of 34.7 per 100,000 ranked 87th in the previous two-week period.

The statewide average per 100,000 people was 197.5 from Nov. 17-30, up from 159.9 from Nov. 9-22.

Washington County was the only one of the five to move from low to medium on the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s COVID Community Level measure. A medium classification comes with a recommendation for people at increased risk of serious illness to consult their health care provider about what precautions to take, including masking in indoor, public spaces.

Athens, Monroe and Noble remained low, while Morgan returned to that level after moving to medium last week. The recommendation for residents of counties on low is to keep up with vaccinations and get tested if COVID symptoms develop.

The CDC recommends masking in indoor, public places when the level is high.

The weekly measure is based on new cases per 100,000 people and hospitalization data in the preceding seven days.

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