Coronavirus: Clark County investigating 45506 zip code, multiple daycare outbreaks

The Clark County Combined Health District is investigating several reasons for the county’s high COVID-19 incidence rate, including specific cases in the 45506 zip code and three separate daycare outbreaks.

Clark County has more COVID-19 cases per 100,000 people than any other county in the state — for the second week in a row, according to new data from the Ohio Department of Health.

The high incidence rate was something Clark County Combined Health District Commissioner Charles Patterson and Gov. Mike DeWine discussed when the governor visited New Carlisle Senior Living to watch Ohio National Guard members give COVID-19 vaccinations on Friday, Patterson said.

“The governor and I were both lamenting the fact that these cases are so high,” Patterson said.

The county reported 317 cases per 100,000 people between March 17 and Tuesday, according to ODH, and has confirmed 425 cases. Last week, Clark County reported 253.6 cases per 100,000 people between March 10 and March 23.

The CDC defines high incidence rates as 100 cases or more per 100,000 people.

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Patterson said there was no “one factor,” for why cases have been so high over the last two weeks. Instead, he said the health district is looking into a variety of areas.

“In particular, the state contacted us about the 45506 zip code, the increase in cases in that zip code specifically are among our African American population. We know there has been an increase there. We have seen an increase in a couple of daycares. Right now, we’re investigating three different daycare outbreaks,” Patterson said.

Patterson also said the weather could be a factor in rising cases, as more people have been outside since temperatures have gone up.

“Maybe we’ve let our guard down a little too soon,” Patterson said.

But there are positive notes about the case spike, Patterson said.

“I don’t want to pass over that case numbers and how being highest in the state is a bad thing, but the average age of those cases has come down, which is a good thing. We are seeing less cases in our elderly population, which makes sense with our high vaccination rates,” Patterson said. “Because of that, we are seeing fewer deaths now. Which is really important. That goes along with the fact that we’re seeing more young cases with fewer comorbidities who are less likely to be hospitalized.”

According to the Ohio Department of Health, as of Friday, 75.2% of those 70 years and older in Clark County have received at least one COVID-19 vaccination shot. Statewide that percentage is around 73%.

Ohio Governor Mike DeWine and his wife, Fran, talk to the nurses from the Clark County Combined Health District who were filling the COVID vaccination syringes during a visit Friday to New Carlisle Senior Living. BILL LACKEY/STAFF
Ohio Governor Mike DeWine and his wife, Fran, talk to the nurses from the Clark County Combined Health District who were filling the COVID vaccination syringes during a visit Friday to New Carlisle Senior Living. BILL LACKEY/STAFF

Credit: Bill Lackey

Credit: Bill Lackey

DeWine praised the county for doing a “phenomenal job” helping elderly residents get vaccinated.

“Clark County, their numbers are ahead of the state’s numbers, ahead of the numbers in the state average. In fact, if you look at people over the age of 70, there are now almost at 75% of people in Clark County that have received the vaccine,” DeWine said. “They are just doing a phenomenal job.”

Clark County had 13,201 cases and 282 deaths of the coronavirus as of Friday afternoon, according to the Ohio Department of Health.

Ohio’s daily coronavirus cases dipped below 2,000 again on Friday as the state reported 1,677 cases, according to ODH.

After seeing a decline in recent months, cases have started to increase in the state again. Over the last 21 days, Ohio has averaged 1,666 daily cases. The state has reported more than 2,000 cases three times in the last eight days.

Throughout the pandemic, Ohio has recorded 1,021,718 total cases, according to ODH.

The state reported 34 deaths on Friday. Death data is updated twice a week, on Tuesdays and Fridays. Over the course of the pandemic, 18,646 deaths have been reported, according to ODH.

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Facts & Figures:

317: COVID-19 cases per 100,000 people in Clark County between March 17 and Thursday

425: COVID-19 cases confirmed during the same timeframe

3: Daycare COVID-19 outbreaks being investigated by the Clark County Combined Health District