COVID-19 cases continue to increase in Clark County

A patient gets her COVID booster shot at the Clark County Combined Health District's Vaccine Center Thursday, Jan. 6, 2022. BILL LACKEY/STAFF

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A patient gets her COVID booster shot at the Clark County Combined Health District's Vaccine Center Thursday, Jan. 6, 2022. BILL LACKEY/STAFF

Omicron variant confirmed in Clark County

A total of 2,274 new confirmed cases of COVID-19 have been reported to the Clark County Combined Health District over the past several days, continuing the increase in cases across the region.

“We’re right in the thick of it,” Clark County Combined Health District health commissioner Charles Patterson said during the health district’s weekly livestream. “We bring these details to you not to scare you or overwhelm you, but just to state the facts.”

The number reported by the health district, Patterson said, does not include at-home COVID-19 tests. The health district reports a 52% positivity rate among people getting tested at the district’s drive-through testing clinic.

The omicron variant has been confirmed this week in Clark County from two cases that were reported three weeks ago. The variant has likely been present in the county for a month or more, Patterson said.

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Patterson said that the omicron variant can present itself as a bad cold, and its beginnings could also include gastrointestinal issues.

The Ohio Department of Health reported that since the pandemic’s start, Clark County has seen more than 31,632 cases of the virus.

Hospitalizations have also been on the rise. A total of 97 new hospital admissions over the past week have also been reported, with Springfield Regional Medical Center being full, Patterson said. This means that all three COVID-19 units, which house 30 patients typically, are now doubling up rooms to meet the demand of cases.

Both clinical and non-clinical teams of soldiers in the Ohio National Guard were assigned to Springfield Regional Medical Center this week to assist healthcare workers with COVID-19 response, Patterson said.

“They were an incredibly welcomed sight when they showed up last Monday with those two teams of 10,” Patterson said. On Monday, another team of 10 is expected to arrive in Clark County to assist the health district at its testing site.

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Home testing kits, however, have been dwindling in the area as the federal government ramps up its efforts to send kits to households across the nation. Kits will be offered to people in Clark County who are unable to get tested at the district’s testing clinic and are symptomatic or had a known exposure to the virus. Patterson said that the health district expects to receive a new shipment from the state’s health department of the home tests in the next few weeks.

The Greater Dayton Hospital Association reported that roughly 83% of individuals hospitalized with COVID-19 are unvaccinated. Studies also show that those who are unvaccinated are 11 times more likely to be hospitalized than unvaccinated people, Patterson said.

Since the pandemic’s start, more than 800 people have been hospitalized in Clark County with COVID-19, ODH reported.

The county saw 552 new first doses this week, and the health district administered 162 booster doses this week.

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The bulk of eligible children under age 11 in Clark County have not been vaccinated against the virus, Patterson said. The vaccination rate among children aged 5-11 in Clark County is sitting at 11% as of Friday afternoon.

As of Friday, nearly 50% of Clark County’s population has completed its vaccine series, according to ODH.

The Clark County Combined Health District COVID-19 Vaccination Center in Springfield is offering vaccinations and is open on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Those seeking a dose can call 937-717-2439 to schedule an appointment.

By the Numbers:

49.7: Percentage of Clark County residents who have completed a COVID-19 vaccine series

31,632: Total number of coronavirus cases reported in Clark County

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