Coronavirus: Clark County cases rise as delta variant spreads

A total of 261 new, confirmed cases were reported in Clark County, up from 167 new cases last week.

At least 12 of these new cases have been sequenced as the delta variant, Clark County Combined Health District health commissioner Charles Patterson said during the district’s weekly livestream Friday.

The delta variant, Patterson said, is roughly 100 times more contagious than the original strain of the virus. Fully vaccinated people are at risk of contracting the virus.

Roughly 125 breakthrough cases have been reported in Clark County since the vaccines’ availability in December 2020. Patterson urged residents to consider layering their protection, regardless of vaccination status, by using face masks given the spread of the delta variant.

“We continue to see this spread rapidly,” Patterson said. “That’s something we need to keep in mind.”

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The health district has been monitoring the vaccination status of people who contract the virus, organizing data about which kind of vaccine an individual received.

Vaccination has increased in Clark County since last week. Roughly 731 people received their first dose of the vaccine this week countywide. Thirty-eight doses were given to immunocompromised individuals this week, as the health district received the green light to administer third doses of the COVID-19 vaccine to eligible individuals.

Amended guidance updated on Aug. 13 by the Centers for Disease Control recommends the additional dose of COVID-19 vaccine to immunocompromised individuals. The Food and Drug Administration has updated emergency-use authorizations for the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines to recommend a third dose for people with moderate-to-severe immunosuppression at heightened risk for severe illness or death from COVID-19.

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Those who qualify for an additional COVID-19 vaccine dose include the following:

  • Individuals undergoing active cancer treatment (solid tumor and hematologic malignancies).
  • Individuals who have received a solid-organ transplant and are taking immunosuppressive therapy.
  • Individuals who have received a CAR-T-cell or hematopoietic stem cell transplant (within two years of transplant or taking immunosuppression therapy).
  • Individuals with moderate or severe primary immunodeficiency (e.g., DiGeorge syndrome, Wiskott-Aldrich syndrome).
  • Individuals with advanced or untreated HIV infection.
  • Individuals undergoing active treatment with high-dose corticosteroids (i.e., ≥20mg prednisone or equivalent per day), alkylating agents, antimetabolites, transplant-related immunosuppressive drugs, cancer chemotherapeutic agents classified as severely immunosuppressive, tumor-necrosis (TNF) blockers, and other biologic agents that are immunosuppressive or immunomodulatory.

People who have received the Johnson and Johnson vaccine are not eligible to receive the additional dose of mRNA vaccine.

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Patterson said that at the moment, the booster dose of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines is not available to the general public, but he and others at the health district expect a universal third dose to become available in September. The third dose, when authorized, would become available to individuals eight months after they receive their second dose of the vaccine.

The location of vaccine distribution will be announced, as the health district’s prior location was at the now closed Upper Valley Mall, Patterson.

Further guidance on the one-dose Johnson and Johnson vaccine is expected, Patterson said.

A total of 42.7% of Clark Countians have completed their vaccine series, resulting in 57,293 vaccines administered in the county, according to the Ohio Department of Health. The state average for vaccine completion is 47.19%.

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The health district is considering expanding its hours for COVID-19 testing at the Coronavirus Testing and Evaluation Center, which opened its doors last week, due to an increased need for testing in the area.

For now, appointments are available from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. Those who wish to schedule a drive-thru appointment at the center’s High Street location in Springfield can contact the health district at 937-717-2436.

By the numbers

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

14,960: Total number of coronavirus cases reported in Clark County

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

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