The total number of COVID-19 cases in Delaware County is trending in a positive direction, and vaccinations are being administered weekly. During Monday’s meeting of Delaware City Council, Delaware Public Health District (DPHD) Commissioner Sheila Hiddleson provided an update on how the county is currently faring with the pandemic more than a year after the World Health Organization declared a global health crisis.
Hiddleson said Delaware County’s COVID numbers are “looking better” with less than 500 active cases around the county; in December, active case numbers had exceeded 2,000.
To date, DPHD has received 9,100 doses of the vaccination and has administered more than that 90% of that supply. Hiddleson said the health district only knows how many vaccinations it will receive a week prior to the delivery, and each week sees upwards of 700 appointments to receive the vaccine.
Each county receives a specific allotment of vaccine shipments, which must then be distributed between every provider in the county that has signed up to receive the vaccine. In Delaware County, Hiddleson said the pool of providers includes the health district, OhioHealth, and several grocery chains that include various Kroger, Giant Eagle, Walmart, and Drug Mart locations.
For reference, Hiddleson pointed out that two weeks ago, the Delaware County allotment totaled 1,500 vaccinations. After divvying up the shipment, each provider received 100 doses.
“While it perhaps spreads out the vaccine a little bit, I do think that it makes it a little bit harder for our public to be able to get scheduled because they’re having to check various sites for that,” Hiddleson said of the current system.
Currently, there are approximately 18,000 people on the waiting list for the vaccine in Delaware County, and appointments are entirely booked through the end of March, Hiddleson added.
Delaware City Schools received its own allotment of vaccinations, and approximately 3,900 vaccines have been administered to staff members in the district.
With the positive trend in COVID-19 cases, Councilwoman Lisa Keller asked Hiddleson whether DPHD is considering changing the quarantine requirements as a result.
“I’ve been hearing a lot from constituents lately … about the length of quarantine,” Keller said on Monday. “For the benefit of the public, I wanted to ask a little bit more about the health district’s policy about the 14 days (of quarantine), and ask if you’ve given any consideration, given our deep drop in numbers, to decreasing that (length).”
Hiddleson responded to Keller’s question by saying, “Yes, that’s a conversation that we’ve had a lot. I think the main thing that we all need to remember is that with this particular virus, the incubation period is 14 days. That means that from the moment you’re exposed, it could take your body up to that 14 days in order to become infected and show those signs.
Hiddleson added that for those who never show symptoms, getting out of quarantine early could lead to them being spreaders and, ultimately, a rise in case numbers.
“Having said all of that, the CDC did give local authorities the option to decrease quarantine to 10 days. But the best practice is still 14 days — they did not change the incubation period for COVID,” she went on to say. “But we are looking at that, we are looking for scientific studies that show that is an appropriate thing to do.”
Keller followed up by asking Hiddleson about the positivity data requested by both the city and the county in September 2020 in approved resolutions, which would help to determine trends compared to the number of total COVID-19 tests being administered. However, Hiddleson said she has still not received the total number of tests from the state done on Delaware County residents.
Asked by Keller if there is anything that can be done to get the data, Hiddleson responded by saying she would follow up on the request to the laboratories but added, “I think, at this point, it’s probably dropped off of somebody’s radar.”
Reach Dillon Davis at 740-413-0904. Follow him on Twitter @DillonDavis56.