More people getting COVID booster shots locally, in Ohio

Health officials say new booster is more effective against newer variants

Public health officials across the Miami Valley are seeing more interest in the new COVID-19 boosters that offer better protection against current variants.

Greene County has 90 appointments scheduled for its Friday COVID-19 vaccine clinics.

“We did see an increase in those wanting to get the new booster,” said Laurie Fox, public information officer at Greene County Public Health.

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“We’ve seen a slight increase in the number of people we’re seeing at our weekly COVID-19 clinics,” said Dan Suffoletto, Public Health – Dayton and Montgomery County public information manager.

Health officials continue to encourage local residents to get vaccinated against COVID-19 and take advantage of the updated booster shots, which target the more prevalent subvariants of the omicron variant.

“It does give you that added benefit of protection,” Fox said.

People who have concerns should talk to their health care provider, she said.

The Ohio Department of Health reported an additional 6,825 people have started their vaccine series, up from the 3,671 vaccinations reported last week. Approximately 63.81% of the state has had at least one dose of the vaccine.

The state made a big leap in the number of people who received their second booster shot, reporting an increase of 43,224 shots statewide. This is up from the 2,535 second booster shots reported last week. Approximately 892,207 people have received their second booster shot in Ohio, according to ODH.

Locally, Warren County is the most vaccinated in the region with 65.2% of residents considered fully vaccinated against COVID-19. The rest of the region is below the state vaccination rate of 59.13%.

Butler County follows with 57.35% vaccinated. Montgomery and Greene counties have similar vaccination rates of 55.95% and 55.82%, respectively. Just more than half of Clark County is vaccinated at 51.6%. The counties of Miami, Champaign, Preble and Darke are all below half-vaccinated with rates of 47.54%, 43.35%, 40.71% and 38.59%, respectively.

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The director-general of the World Health Organization, Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, said at a Wednesday press conference that the end of the pandemic is in sight on a worldwide basis.

“Last week, the number of weekly reported deaths from COVID-19 was the lowest since March 2020,” Ghebreyesus said. “We have never been in a better position to end the pandemic. We are not there yet, but the end is in sight.”

Worldwide, COVID-19 has resulted in 6.4 million deaths, according to WHO. There have been more than 607 million cases reported globally, along with more than 12.6 billion doses of COVID vaccines administered.

Local health officials say it is too soon to speculate what the future will be for COVID-19.

“I don’t believe it will ever completely go away,” Fox said.

Coronavirus cases continue to decrease in Ohio, but weekly hospitalizations were back above 600 on Thursday for the first time in three weeks.

The state recorded 626 new hospitalizations in the last week, according to the state health department. The last time weekly hospitalizations surpassed 600 was on Aug. 25 when 604 hospitalizations were reported. It also marked the first time in three weeks that new hospitalizations increased.

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The ODH reported 20,552 cases Thursday compared to 21,731 cases on Sept. 8. It’s the fewest weekly cases recorded in more than two months, since the state added 18,838 cases on July 7.

Public Health – Dayton and Montgomery County reported seeing an approximately 50% decrease in the number of new COVID cases.

Forty-eight ICU admissions and 99 deaths were recorded in the past week, according to the state health department.

As of Thursday, there were a total of 1,133 people hospitalized with COVID and 154 ICU patients with COVID in Ohio’s hospitals, according to the Ohio Hospital Association.

West central Ohio, which includes Champaign, Clark, Darke, Greene, Miami, Montgomery, Preble and Shelby counties, accounted for 80 inpatients. It’s a 13% decrease from last week and a 39% decrease from 60 days ago.

Butler, Warren, Hamilton, Adams, Brown, Clermont and Clinton counties make up southwest Ohio, which recorded 188 people hospitalized with the virus on Thursday, according to OHA. The region saw a 10% increase compared to the past week but a 3% decrease from 60 days ago.