SCIOTO — A few days into February, it is apparent that Scioto County and Ohio is at a different and mostly better place in the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
According to data from the Portsmouth City and county health departments, more people recovered from COVID in January than new positive cases. This was due to smaller increases in case numbers, while presumed recoveries remained between 40 to 65 each day.
Seeing a peak in cases between thanksgiving and new year’s, reaching as high as 157 cases recorded on Dec. 11, City Health Commissioner Chris Smith said the common assumption that the county has moved on from this spike.
“We’re not taking our foot of the gas as far as promoting the public health measures,” he said in a Wednesday phone interview. “There are the other variants going around and we do not want to see another spike.”
Since Jan. 8, daily cases in the county have remained under 90 with a peak of 60 on Jan. 10. Only one case was reported on Sunday, bringing the end of January total to 5,541 cases since the beginning of the pandemic.
Here are a few other monthly takeaways, using data between Jan. 2 and Jan. 31:
- Total hospitalizations increased from 302 to 380.
- Presumed recoveries went from 3,378 to 4,955.
- Active cases dropped from 916 to 505.
All measures indicated on the daily updates, with exception for deaths, showed improvements from December where nearly 2,000 cases and 200 active cases were added. Throughout the past two months, 54 people- 28 in January and 26 in December- have died in connection with the virus where 82 total have died.
The effectiveness of COVID vaccines in preventing illness and deaths has been documented, said Smith, but further studies are needed to indicate to certify how well it does in other measures.
“It is very effective against illness and very effective against mortality,” he said of the vaccines, definitely important measures he added. “What has not been studied a lot is how much does it help with the spread of disease.”
Smith also said it is a possibility for those already vaccinated, nearly 10% of Scioto’s population as of the latest, can still get COVID yet it is unknown if they can actually spread it. This information will become known over time, especially when the county receives more vaccines.
“We are absolutely prepared to mass vaccinate, but we are just not receiving very many doses,” he said, PCHD projected to obtain 100 doses next week. “We’re just waiting for the vaccine and we’re very hopeful it will be here soon.”
Remaining at a Level Three on the Ohio Department of Health’s Public Health Advisory System, the county only met one of the seven indicators during last week’s update. That measure, new cases per capita, improved from 606.8 per 100,000 people the week before to 423.6 per 100,00 most recently. Scioto, along with the 83 other counties at Level Three, will remain at this level until it reaches under 100 new cases per 100,000.
With no counties on Level Four or on a Level Four watchlist on the ODH PHAS , case numbers statewide have also been trending down. Wednesday’s report of 3,991 new cases was the fourth consecutive day where Ohio remained under 4,000 reported cases during a 24-hour period.
Gov. Mike DeWine said during a Tuesday news conference that he was pleased to see that trend, but that death numbers, while not necessarily recorded on the day they occur was still troubling. That day, 106 deaths were reported well above the 73 deaths per day average over the past 21 days.
“It’s very, very tragic,” he said from his Cedarville home, the same day he and his wife, Fran, received their first of two COVID vaccine doses.
Reach Patrick Keck (740)-353-3501 ext. 1931, by email at firstname.lastname@example.org, or on Twitter @pkeckreporter.
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