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

COVID-19 Update — December 9, 2021

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• “Sadly, we continue to see an uptick in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations,” Dr. Bruce Vanderhoff, the director of the Ohio Department of Health, or ODH, said in his opening remarks during a press conference that was livestreamed online Thursday, Dec. 2.

Vanderhoff reported that more than 8,900 new cases had been reported across the state in the previous 24 hours, a level comparable to the peak of the fall surge on Sept. 10, when about 9,000 new cases were reported. He also said that as of Dec. 1, a total of about 3,800 COVID patients were being treated in hospitals across the state, surpassing the 3,700 total hospitalizations reported Sept. 27 during the fall surge. The last time hospitalization numbers were higher was nearly a year ago, in mid-January, when the hospital case load reached about 4,000.

He said that the majority of hospitalized cases are patients who have not been vaccinated for the virus.

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The Delta variant remains the dominant variant in new hospitalizations, Vanderhoff said, adding that while “much remains unknown” about the new Omicron variant, “early reports have suggested a tendency to produce mostly mild illness.”

Vanderhoff also said that the increase in hospitalizations puts additional stress on medical facilities’ ability to treat patients seeking care for other illnesses and conditions. The issue at this time isn’t physical capacity or the number of available beds, but rather staffing levels, he said.

“Staffing is a major limitation,” Dr. Andy Thomas, of The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center in Columbus, said, speaking as a guest presenter at the press conference.

Vanderhoff said that the best way to limit COVID-19 hospitalizations is to increase the number of people who are vaccinated.

• The daily number of new cases in Ohio hit its highest level in 11 months on Friday, Dec. 3, when 9,565 new positive cases were reported for the 24-hour period. The seven-day running average of new cases rose from 4,982 as of Sunday, Nov. 28, to 7,450, as of Saturday, Dec. 4.

• Ohio’s new case numbers per 100,000 residents, which represent a two-week average, showed the continuing rise as well, moving from 543.3, as of Nov. 25, to 601.1, reported Dec. 2.

• Greene County, however, remained relatively static in its per 100,000 figures, with a two-week average of 377.7 as of Dec. 2, compared to 378.8 per 100,000 residents as of Nov. 25. Greene County’s latest figures put it at 84th among Ohio’s 88 counties for cases per 100,000 residents.

Williams County, in the northwest corner of the state, continued to report the most cases, with 1,133.8 per 100,000 residents. Athens County, in southeastern Ohio, had the lowest average, with 298.5. 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, Nov. 28, through Saturday, Dec. 4, rose significantly, however, from the week before, with a total of 531 new cases, compared to the previous week’s total of 308. The daily seven-day average showed a comparable rise, from an average of 47.43 new cases reported on Nov. 28 to 75.86 on Dec. 4.

• New COVID-related hospitalizations in the county decreased slightly for the week of Nov. 28–Dec. 4, with nine new admissions, compared to 12 the week before. The reported number of deaths in the county for the same period also showed a continuing decrease, with four, compared to five the previous week before and eight the week before that.

• The 45387 ZIP code reported eight new cases for the week of Nov. 28–Dec. 4, compared to a single new case the week before. The seven-day average went from 1.29, as of Nov. 28, to 2.86, as of Dec. 4

• In Yellow Springs, the public schools reported four students and one staff member with positive cases of COVID-19 for the school week ending Friday, Dec. 3. Five students also were quarantining. None of the positive or quarantine cases were tied to school-related exposures, according to the district.

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