Coronavirus: Clark County cases up for first time in weeks

Health district begins administering vaccines for children aged 5-11

Credit: Bill Lackey

Credit: Bill Lackey

There were 217 confirmed coronavirus cases reported this week, breaking the six-week decline of cases in Clark County.

Last week 172 COVID-19 cases were confirmed in the county. As of Friday afternoon, 20,398 cases have been reported in Clark County since the pandemic’s start, according to the Ohio Department of Health.

Clark County Combined Health District health commissioner Charles Patterson said during the health district’s weekly livestream that the uptick in cases shouldn’t cause panic.

“I think sometimes we get a little comfortable because we are skiing down the hill and we don’t watch out for objects in the way,” Patterson said. “We still have to be mindful.”

Patterson said that hospitals in the area are have an average of more than 40 patients each day who are positive for COVID-19. Roughly 20% of people hopitalized locally have COVID-19.

As of Friday afternoon, there have been 670 hospitalizations from COVID-19 since the start of the pandemic in Clark County, according to ODH.

Christina Conover, the director of nursing and community health at the health district, said this can add up to “pure exhaustion” for healthcare workers. She joined Patterson during this week’s livestream.

“In many cases, hospitals are battling a shortage of staffing, some of the supplies are coming in a little slow,” said Conover. “We have to really respect the work that’s being done in our healthcare facilities.”

Since the delta surge began in August, 59 Clark County residents have died of COVID-19. Since the pandemic’s start, 369 people in Clark County have died of COVID-19.

“If you think about each one of those individuals… it’s affecting their families and their friends and their churches, so a vast number of people in our community have been affected,” Patterson said.

The county saw a major update in terms of who is eligible for COVID-19 vaccination. On Tuesday, the Centers for Disease Control authorized the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine for children in the 5-11 age group. The health district immunized its first round of children on Thursday at the health district’s 110 W. Leffel Lane vaccine distribution center, with 97 appointments scheduled for the day.

ODH reported that as of Friday afternoon, 46.5% of Clark County’s population has completed its COVID-19 vaccine series.

Conover also provided details Friday about Clark County’s community health improvement plan. The district partners with community organizations to assess the “vital signs” of a community every three years, Conover said.

First, the plan aims to address several items dealing with chronic disease management: decreasing tobacco use in the county, increasing green space in the county to encourage exercise, and the creation of community gardens to address food insecurity.

Second, for maternal and infant health, the health district has identified goals: reducing the number of infant deaths, reducing the number of unplanned births among teens through education and access to birth control, and reducing the number of sexually transmitted diseases and infections.

The third priority area, mental health and substance abuse, contains the following goals: reducing the number of overdose deaths in the county through connecting people to treatment and support services and reducing the number of deaths to suicide.

The full report is on the health district’s website.

By the Numbers:

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

20,398: Total number of coronavirus cases reported in Clark County

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

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