DPHD: Continue to wear masks


By Gary Budzak - gbudzak@aimmediamidwest.com



“We continue to advise everyone to wear a mask in public indoor settings and in crowded areas, regardless of vaccination status,” the Delaware Public Health District announced Wednesday.

“While this is not a mandate, we do ask that everyone comply with the practices of public facilities and businesses that continue to require masks as they decide what is best for their customers and staff,” the health district posted on Facebook. “With these practices, we can get through this pandemic, protect public health, and support our local economy all by working together!”

There are still two critical factors present with regards to the resurgence of COVID-19, the district said.

The two failed factors are responsible for the mask advisory: the level of SARS-CoV-2 community transmission (new cases per 100,000 persons in the last seven days), and the capacity for early detection of increases in COVID-19 cases (new cases per 100,000 Delaware County public school staff and students in the past seven days).

The county continues to have a passing mark in positivity rate, health system capacity (percent of ICU patients with COVID-19 according to the Ohio Hospital Association), as well as a satisfactory mark in COVID-19 vaccination coverage.

The weekly report the DPHD issues said there are now an average of 26 new cases per day per 100,000 population (up five from last week), with 18,314 total cases (up from 17,949 last week), 579 cases placed in isolation within the last 10 days (up 135 from last week), and 27,262 total vaccine doses administered by DPHD (up 42 from last week).

“We’re now administering third doses of COVID-19 vaccine for immunocompromised individuals only,” the DPHD recently posted. “Walk-ins and appointments accepted Monday-Thursday 8:30-11:30 a.m. and 1-4 p.m. Call 740-368-1700 to make an appointment. Currently, CDC is recommending that immunocompromised people receive a third dose. This includes people who have: Been receiving active cancer treatment for tumors or cancers of the blood; received an organ transplant and are taking medicine to suppress the immune system; received a stem cell transplant within the last 2 years or are taking medicine to suppress the immune system; moderate or severe primary immunodeficiency (such as DiGeorge syndrome, Wiskott-Aldrich syndrome); advanced or untreated HIV infection; active treatment with high-dose corticosteroids or other drugs that may suppress your immune response. If you’re unsure if you qualify, please consult with your doctor. DPHD staff cannot determine if you qualify for a third dose of vaccine.”

There will also be clinics for seventh and 12th graders at Buckeye Valley High School (Sept. 10) and Big Walnut high and middle schools (Sept. 15). Use code TEEN2021 to register at DelawareHealth.org/school-clinics. Another walk-in COVID-19 clinic open to the public will take place from 1-4 p.m. Oct. 2 at the Elm Valley Fire District Touch-a-Truck Event, 9821 U.S. Route 42, Ashley.

The Ohio Department of Health said on Wednesday afternoon that Delaware County has 20,603 cases, still 14th-most in Ohio. There have been 357 residents hospitalized due to the coronavirus and 140 deaths in the county. The discrepancies in the county totals by the two agencies (DPHD and ODH) is based on additional jurisdictions reporting to ODH.

The ODH is also reporting there have been 1.2 million cases of COVID-19 in the state, with 66,013 hospitalizations and 20,866 deaths.

The ODH’s Coronavirus (COVID-19) Vaccination Dashboard said Delaware County continues to lead the state’s 88 counties in the percentage of population who have started the vaccine, with 66% (138,201 people). No other county has 60%. Ohio’s totals are more than 6 million people, or 52% of the population, have started on the vaccine.

Delaware County also has the highest percentage of population who have completed receiving the vaccination, with 62.7% (131,197 people). No other county has 55%. The state totals are 5.6 million people, or 48% of the population, have completed receiving the vaccine.

The ODH also issues a COVID-19 breakthrough chart. Since Jan. 1-Aug. 25, there have been 20,767 hospitalizations and 7,035 deaths among Ohioans who were not fully vaccinated. In comparison, 469 hospitalizations and 76 deaths were reported among fully vaccinated individuals in Ohio since the start of the year.

The Centers for Disease Control’s COVID Data Tracker shows that cases and deaths in the United States have risen sharply in the last 30 days. As of Wednesday afternoon, there have been 39.1 million total cases of the coronavirus in the United States, resulting in 637,385 deaths. There have been 370.2 million total vaccines administered.

White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said last week, “We’ve now hit a major milestone in our effort to vaccinate adolescents at a particularly important time as people go back to school. Fifty percent of 12- to 17-year-olds now have at least their first shot. Obviously, more work to do, but a positive step forward.”

“COVID hospital admissions fall for first time since June in U.S.,” read a Bloomberg online headline on Wednesday.

The Johns Hopkins COVID-19 Dashboard said Wednesday afternoon that 3.9 million cases of coronavirus and 25,694 deaths from the infectious disease have hit the U.S. in the past 28 days.

To date, 218 million people worldwide have had COVID-19, and 4.5 million have died from the global pandemic.

Thus far, 5.3 billion total vaccine doses have been administered, with 1 billion doses administered over the past 28 days.

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By Gary Budzak

gbudzak@aimmediamidwest.com

Gary Budzak may be reached at 740-413-0906 or on Twitter @GaryBudzak.

Gary Budzak may be reached at 740-413-0906 or on Twitter @GaryBudzak.