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Photo: CDC/Dr. Fred Murphy, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Public Health; public domain.

COVID-19 Update — December 16, 2021

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• The Ohio Department of Health, or ODH, reported Saturday, Dec. 11, that the first two cases of the Omicron variant had been confirmed in Ohio.

“We have known that it would only be a matter of time until a case of Omicron was detected in Ohio. The CDC believes that this variant has likely been circulating in the U.S. since November,” ODH Director Dr. Bruce Vanderhoff said in a prepared statement.

The two cases were detected in adult males in central Ohio, according to a press release from the ODH. Both men had been vaccinated for COVID-19 more than six months ago, but neither had received a booster shot. According to the ODH, both patients were experiencing mild symptoms and had not been hospitalized.

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According to Vanderhoff, the bigger concern at the moment is the number of cases tied to the Delta variant.

“While the arrival of Omicron in Ohio is noteworthy, we must not lose sight of the fact that the Delta variant continues to drive cases and hospitalizations very high,” Vanderhoff said. “As of [Friday, Dec. 10] there were 4,422 patients in the hospital with COVID-19, a high that matches what we experienced in January of 2021 during last winter’s surge,” he added.

He spoke of the current surge during a press conference livestreamed Thursday, Dec. 9, when the number of hospitalized COVID patients had reached 4,297, of whom 1,100 were in intensive care units.

“We are in a very serious situation,” Vanderhoff said of the strain being put on hospitals. “It’s every bit as serious as last December and January,” when COVID case numbers peaked in the state.
As in weeks past, the doctor stressed the importance of getting vaccinated against the virus.

“The hospitalizations in this Delta surge are largely being driven by unvaccinated Ohioans,” he said. “Severe illness with COVID-19 is largely preventable thanks to vaccines.”

• The daily number of new cases in Ohio fluctuated throughout the week of Sunday, Dec. 5, through Saturday, Dec. 11, but saw an overall rise — from 5,354, reported on the 5th, to 8,072, on the 11th. However, the seven-day running average of new cases decreased from 7,609, as of the 5th, to 7,256, by the end of the week.

• Ohio’s new case numbers per 100,000 residents, which represent a two-week average, showed the continuing rise as well, moving from 601.1, reported Dec. 2, to 718.5, as of Dec. 9.

• Greene County also saw a rise in its per 100,000 figures, with a two-week average of 501.4 as of Dec. 9, compared to 377.7 per 100,000 residents as of Dec. 2. Greene County’s latest figures put it at 83rd among Ohio’s 88 counties for cases per 100,000 residents. Crawford County, in the north central part of the state was at the top, with 1,183.3. It was among nine counties in Ohio with a case average of over 1,000 per 100,000 residents. Athens County, in southeastern Ohio, had the lowest average for the second week in a row, with 353.6, compared to 298.5 the week before. All counties in the state continue to carry a “high” incidence rate designation, which is set at an average of 100 or more cases per 100,000 over two weeks.

• Greene County’s total of new cases reported for the week of Sunday, Dec. 5, through Saturday, Dec. 11, fell to 480 new cases, compared to the previous week’s total of 531. The daily seven-day average also decreased, from an average of 77 new cases as of the 5th, to 69 on the 11th.

• Contrary to the recent surge of COVID-related hospitalizations in the state, Greene County saw another decrease over the week of Dec. 5–11, with six admissions, compared to nine the week before and 12 the week before that. The reported number of deaths in the county for the same period rose, however, with eight, compared to four the week before and five the week before that.

• The 45387 ZIP code reported 11 new cases for the week of Dec. 5–11, compared to eight the week before. The seven-day average went from four, as of Dec. 5, to eight, as of Dec. 11.

• In Yellow Springs, the public schools reported one student with a positive case of COVID-19 for the school week ending Friday, Dec. 10. Five students and one staff member also were quarantining. None of the positive or quarantine cases were tied to school-related exposures, according to the district.

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