Clark County COVID-19 cases up, but transmission drops to medium

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COVID-19 cases remain high with “medium” transmission in Clark County as guidance from national and state health agencies scaled back this week.

A total of 313 new cases of COVID-19 were reported to the Clark County Combined Health District this week.

This week’s total is up from last week’s total of 276 new cases, but a continuation of the 12-weeeklong trend of more than 100 cases being reported to the health district on a weekly basis.

The health district hosted its weekly COVID-19 livestream update on Friday with health commissioner Charles Patterson and Dan Bennett, the superintendent of the Clark County Educational Service Center.

The Centers for Disease Control updated its guidelines for COVID-19 on Thursday as communities gear up to send their children back to school.

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If people test positive for the virus, they should quarantine for five days. On Day 6, if their symptoms have lessened, they can come our of quarantine and wear a facemask.

If they test negative for COVID on the fifth day and again 48 hours later, they can come out of isolation without a facemask.

The CDC now also recommends that quarantining at home is not necessary if a person comes into close contact with someone who has COVID-19. The agency urges those people to wear a facemask for 10 days and get tested after five days, however.

The agency continues to say that people who test positive should isolate from others for at least five days, regardless of vaccination status. CDC officials advise that people can end isolation if they are without a fever for a day without the use of medication and they are without symptoms or the symptoms are improving.

The Ohio Department of Health (ODH) also updated its guidelines Thursday. ODH is no longer recommending the state’s “Mask to Stay” and “Test to Play” school guidelines. Instead, ODH is asking people who feel ill to stay home and away from others, as they would with other illnesses.

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One part of the CDC’s guidelines that didn’t change was masking in areas with a “high” community transmission.

Patterson said that the downgrade to a “medium” community level in Clark County this week was influenced by COVID-19 the decline in hospital admissions. The county, among others in the region, had a “high” transmission last week.

Locally, the COVID-19 hospitalization rate sits at 9.8 per 100,000 people, down from last week’s rate of 17.3. Less than 5% of the county’s hospital beds are being used for COVID-19 patients as of Friday, Patterson said.

The positivity rate as of this week remains 20%, meaning roughly 1 in 5 people testing for the virus are testing positive. Cases reported to the health district do not include at-home tests where the tester does not report their results. Those who test positive with an at-home test can report their illness to the health district on its website.

The health district continues to administer COVID-19 vaccines at its office, with an increase in interest recently. Roughly 51.5% of the county has completed its vaccine series, according to the Ohio Department of Health (ODH).

As of Friday, more than 38,000 cases of the virus have been reported in Clark County since the pandemic’s start, according to ODH.

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