The Delaware Public Health District (DPHD) is still reporting three out of five failed critical factors on its weekly COVID-19 report card, yet those numbers are improving.
The failed factors are new cases of COVID-19, new cases in the schools, and the positivity rate.
This week’s critical factors are 314 new cases per 100,000 persons in the past seven days (it was 689 last week), and 828 new cases per 100,000 staff and students in the past seven days (no change from last week). The county’s population was last estimated at 209,177. Both of those totals are well over the 50 or less needed for a satisfactory grade.
The positivity rate is 15%, down from last week’s 20% and above the 8% or less satisfactory mark.
The local health care system capacity, or the percent of intensive care unit patients with COVID-19, is unchanged at 14%, which is considered satisfactory.
The other passing factor, which Delaware County has been a statewide leader in, is the COVID-19 vaccination coverage. A total of 74% of eligible county residents have had their full vaccination series completed, according to the web page covid.cdc.gov/covid-data-tracker/#county-view. Delaware County still has more of its population vaccinated than surrounding counties in central Ohio, the district said.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website said the transmission level of the coronavirus remains high in Delaware County. “Everyone in Delaware County, Ohio should wear a mask in public, indoor settings,” the CDC said on Feb. 9. “Mask requirements might vary from place to place. Make sure you follow local laws, rules, regulations or guidance.”
The critical factors included in the DPHD’s weekly COVID-19 report card were developed by the CDC to help local agencies provide community guidance. If two or more of those factors are positive, the DPHD has recommended residents wear masks in public, even those who are vaccinated and boosted.
The health district also issued its monthly report on Wednesday. It said from last November through January, 63% of hospitalizations in the county due to COVID-19 were people who were unvaccinated, and 64% of those who died from the infectious disease were unvaccinated. The most cases were by those in the 30-39 age group.
The CDC measures changes over the past seven days in the county. On Feb. 9, it said there were 11 new hospital admissions, but no deaths. The CDC’s COVID Data Tracker said Wednesday there have been more than 76.7 million cases of the coronavirus in the United States. However, cases are trending down over the last 30 days.
The White House COVID-19 Response Team reported Wednesday that America’s “current seven-day daily average of cases is about 247,300 cases per day, a decrease of about 44% over the previous week. The seven-day average of hospital admissions is about 13,000 per day, a decrease of about 25% over the previous period. And the seven-day average of daily deaths are about 2,400 a day, which is an increase of about 3% over the prior week. This week, we reached a tragic new mark of 900,000 deaths in this country from COVID-19.”
“We now have more tools than ever before to save lives and fight this virus — with vaccines remaining our most important tool,” said President Joe Biden in a statement on Feb. 4. “Vaccines and boosters have proven incredibly effective and offer the highest level of protection. Two hundred and fifty million Americans have stepped up to protect themselves, their families, and their communities by getting at least one shot — and we have saved more than one million American lives as a result.
“We can save even more lives — and spare countless families from the deepest pain imaginable — if everybody does their part,” Biden continued. “I urge all Americans: get vaccinated, get your kids vaccinated, and get your booster shot if you are eligible. It’s free, easy, and effective — and it can save your life, and the lives of those you love.”
On Monday, the DPHD released the following statement on its Facebook page: “Following recent recommendations by the Ohio Department of Health, the Delaware Public Health District will no longer be conducting individual case investigation and contract tracing for positive COVID-19 cases. Instead, the Health District will focus on COVID-19 outbreaks in high-risk settings, outbreaks associated with new variants, and severe COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations and deaths.
“Although we will no longer contact COVID-19 positive individuals, public health restrictions remain in effect for all positive cases and contacts. We have outlined specific responsibilities to assist individuals, families and facilities understand their role in protecting public health. Test documentation to return to work should be requested from the test site providing the test results or a primary care physician.”
Gary Budzak may be reached at 740-413-0906 or on Twitter @GaryBudzak.