Coronavirus: Cases down again, but deaths continue to increase

Dameka Cunigan gets the COVID vaccine shot during the second annual Community Health Fair at FamilyNeeds, Inc. Thursday. Health care organization and doctors were on hand to do health check and to educate residents about healthy living. BILL LACKEY/STAFF
Caption
Dameka Cunigan gets the COVID vaccine shot during the second annual Community Health Fair at FamilyNeeds, Inc. Thursday. Health care organization and doctors were on hand to do health check and to educate residents about healthy living. BILL LACKEY/STAFF

Credit: Bill Lackey

Credit: Bill Lackey

The number of COVID-19 cases in Clark County continue to decline, as a total of 254 new confirmed infections were reported this week.

Clark County Combined Health District health Commissioner Charles Patterson and Mercy Health - Springfield Chief Medical Officer Dr. Paul Buchanan updated the community on the state of the coronavirus in the county during the health district’s weekly livestream.

Last week, 355 cases were reported, and there were 395 documented cases the previous week, Patterson said. As of Friday afternoon, 19,513 cases have been reported in the county since the pandemic’s beginning, according to the Ohio Department of Health.

“You can see for the first time that the slope is going down,” Buchanan said. “We’re on the back side of the mountain now.”

ExploreOhio reports fewer than 5,000 COVID-19 cases as state continues to see decline

However, Patterson said, COVID-19 deaths are still continuing to increase in the county. Three hundred forty nine COVID-19-related deaths have been reported in Clark County since the start of the pandemic, ODH said.

“We know when someone comes in with COVID — they’ve got a chest X-ray that looks like cotton balls throughout the lungs, we call it ground glass consolidation… and those weren’t there before,” Buchanan said. “They end up in the ICU sometimes, they need high-flow oxygen, and they sometimes succumb.”

Buchanan added that one out of roughly 325 Clark Countians who have been infected with COVID-19 have died of the virus.

“It’s very deadly and it’s much more significant than influenza,” Buchanan said. “And it’s highly transmissible. The doctor said that the infection rate of the delta variant of the virus is significantly higher than the alpha variant, where one person carrying the virus could infect on average two additional people. The delta variant has an infection rate of eight people for every person carrying the virus.

ExploreTrick or Treat: Ohio shares COVID-19 safety tips for Halloween

Buchanan also said the delta variant is by far the most contagious strain of the virus circulating.

“You’ve heard maybe of mu and lambda, but they really haven’t been as big of a factor as delta,” Buchanan said. The delta variant currently accounts for more than 90% of infections of COVID-19 in the nation, he said.

Buchanan said all of the staff at Springfield Regional Medical Center are under stress due to the hospital not seeing the decrease in cases that the community at large has witnessed.

“A year ago it was different: everyone was fresh. Now everyone is tired, worn out, burned out,” Buchanan said. “They want a little relief, but there is no relief yet.”

Buchanan said the hospital has taken some ancillary services and reassigned those workers to provide other services in the hospital. Many nurses are also coming into work and working double shifts to make up for the shortage of healthcare employees.

ExploreState: Delta surge appears to have plateaued, but too early to declare victory

As of Friday afternoon, 633 Clark Countians have required hospitalization due to COVID-19.

Buchanan urged those who have not been vaccinated and are eligible for it to receive it. He said that studies show those who are unvaccinated and have never been infected by the virus have 10-86 times the risk of a vaccinated person in terms of hospitalization and death.

“Being vaccinated goes a long way,” he said.

Nearly 46% of Clark County’s population has completed the COVID-19 vaccine series. In addition, 5,250 additional doses of the vaccine have been administered to people in the county, according to ODH.

The CCCHD COVID-19 Vaccination Center at 110 W. Leffel Lane in Springfield is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday, Wednesday and Friday; and from 1 to 7 p.m. on Tuesday and Thursday. Those seeking a booster dose can call 937-717-2439 to schedule an appointment.


By the Numbers:

45.7: Percentage of Clark County residents who have completed the COVID-19 vaccine series

19,513: Total number of coronavirus cases reported in Clark County

346: Total number of coronavirus-related deaths in Clark County

About the Author