COVID-19 community level drops to medium in Clark County

Stephanie Johnson and Chris Cook, from the Clark County Combined Health District, pass out COVID-19 home test kits in a drive-thru in June in the parking lot at Springfield High School. BILL LACKEY/STAFF

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Stephanie Johnson and Chris Cook, from the Clark County Combined Health District, pass out COVID-19 home test kits in a drive-thru in June in the parking lot at Springfield High School. BILL LACKEY/STAFF

Clark County’s COVID-19 community level dropped to “medium” this week, but hundreds of cases continue to be reported weekly.

For several weeks in a row, more than 100 new COVID-19 cases have been reported to the Clark County Combined Health District, with 309 cases reported this week.

The health district hosted its weekly COVID-19 livestream update on Friday, hosted by communication coordinator Nate Smith and Christina Conover, the health district’s director of nursing.

Last week, Clark County was bumped up to “a high” level of COVID transmission.

The Centers for Disease Control designations are based on the number of new coronavirus cases per 100,000 people in the past week, new COVID hospital admissions and the percent of staffed inpatient hospital beds occupied by coronavirus patients.

Residents of counties with a “medium” level of transmission should stay up-to-date with their COVID-19 vaccines, get tested if they have symptoms and consider wearing a facemask in public spaces, particularly if residents are at high-risk for severe illness, according to the CDC.

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Smith said the drop to a “medium” level locally is influenced by the number of COVID-19 hospitalizations reported this week. Nine new COVID-19 hospitalizations per 100,000 people were reported in Clark County this week, with 4% of in-patient hospital beds occupied by COVID-19 patients.

“The number of cases is an important statistic, and it’s important for us to be mindful, to shield those people in our population… who may not have a great immunity to be able to fight off COVID if they get it,” Conover said. “But… if the disease is of a milder nature and people aren’t necessarily needing to seek care, that means hospitals won’t need to be filled… that’s really where we want to be.”

COVID-19 tests locally had a 17.9% positivity rate this week. Cases reported to the health district do not include at-home tests where the tester does not report their results. Those who test positive with an at-home test can report their illness to the health district on its website.

Conover said that those who test positive for COVID-19 should think back to when and where their symptoms started and keep themselves in quarantine for five full days. In shared spaces at home, the individual should wear a mask so as not to expose their loved ones.

The health district continues to administer COVID-19 vaccines at its office, with an increase in interest recently. Roughly 51.5% of the county has completed its vaccine series, according to the Ohio Department of Health (ODH).

As of Friday, more than 37,000 cases of the virus have been reported in Clark County since the pandemic’s start, according to ODH.

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