Coronavirus: Cases continue to climb in Clark County, health commissioner says

Confirmed cases of the coronavirus continue to climb in Clark County despite more people wearing face masks in public, the county’s health commissioner says.

From July 31 until Friday, the county has seen 64 new cases of the virus, Clark County Combined Health District Commissioner Charles Patterson said during his weekly update on the status of the virus in the county.

The 64 cases mark an increase in the average number of cases per week the county was previously seeing over the last month, Patterson said.

“People are going to say ‘wait a minute, you had 70 something cases last week, how is that an increase’,” Patterson said. “If you take out the tests that we were running with our mass clinics, if you factor those out, that means that all the other test sites in Clark County are now generating 64 new cases without those 15 to 25 cases that have been coming up with at mass testing.”

While mass testing events were taking place, the county was averaging around 70 cases per week. Prior to mass testing, cases were around 60 per week.

Wednesday marked the two weeks since the county held a free mass testing clinic. In July, the district hosted three free pop-up COVID-19 testing clinics. Over the course of the month, the district tested 2,278 people, according to data from the CCCHD.

According to the Ohio Department of Health’s website, as of Friday afternoon, Clark Couty had 1,133 cases, 12 deaths and two probable deaths, of the coronavirus. Champaign County had 159 cases and 2 deaths.

Patterson said the number of cases the county has seen over the last week without a mass testing event is “not at good sign.”

“We aren’t surprised by it. We would like to be seeing that number come down, especially because people are wearing masks,” Patterson said.

Since Gov. Mike DeWine issued a statewide face mask mandate on July 23, Patterson said the county has seen a clear increase in the number of people wearing a mask in public.

“We are seeing more and more people out wearing masks,” Patterson said. “In fact, we are getting fewer complaints about places of business and other areas where people are not wearing masks. So that is a positive sign.”

Even though more residents are wearing masks, the county’s case count will likely not reflect the change for at least another week, Patterson said, as a person can carry the virus asymptomatically for up to 14 days.

“Because of the 14-day incubation period, that’s going to take a while to catch up,” Patterson said.

As of Friday afternoon, Ohio has reported 98,675 total cases of and 3,652 deaths of the coronavirus, according to the ODH. Between Thursday and Friday, 1,204 new cases were reported.

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