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

COVID Update | Feb. 17, 2022

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The U.S. Food & Drug Administration’s consideration — and anticipated approval — this month of a COVID-19 vaccine for young children, aged 6 months through 4 years old, has been put on hold, the FDA announced Friday, Feb. 11.

The FDA’s decision to delay its assessment was in response to a request from the Pfizer corporation, which is working with German-based BioNTech to develop a three-dose vaccine for small children. According to a release from the FDA, new information gathered during ongoing clinical trials led researchers to believe that additional data is needed before the vaccine’s possible authorization.

The announcement follows a change earlier in the month by the Centers for Disease Control regarding the timing of booster shots for immunocompromised patients. The CDC now recommends that immunocompromised patients get a booster shot three months after their initial vaccination set, rather than five months, as previously suggested.

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At the same time, COVID-19 case numbers and hospitalizations continue to decline across Ohio from the mid-January peak fueled by the Omicron variant.

• The state’s number of new cases tallied during the week of Sunday, Feb. 6, through Saturday, Feb. 12, fluctuated from 2,070 reported on the 6th, to the week’s high of 4,385 on Feb. 8, to 1,761 on the 12th. The seven-day running average offers a more consistent snapshot of the current situation by averaging newly reported daily cases from seven days in a row. That average decreased daily from 4,840 on Feb. 6, to 3,217 on Feb. 12. Three weeks before, the daily numbers were over 20,000.

• The state reported 1,458 new COVID-19 admissions for the week of Feb. 6–12, compared to 1,735 the week before. Total statewide hospitalizations have continued to decline from a high of 6,749 on Jan. 10, to 2,199 as of Monday, Feb. 14.

• The number of COVID-related deaths in Ohio went down for the first time in weeks, totaling 788 from Feb. 6–12, compared with 1,146 over the first week of February. The total number of deaths in the state since the beginning of the pandemic surpassed 35,000 as of Feb. 12.

• Looking at the two-week average of new case numbers per 100,000 residents, released each Thursday, the state reports a continuing decline from the 2,000-plus average in mid-January. The latest tabulation, released Feb. 10, was 481 per 100,000, nearly half of the previous week’s 949.5 average.

• Greene County also experienced a decrease in its per 100,000 average, with 661.8 as of Feb. 10, compared with 1,273.8 as of Feb. 3. Greene County’s latest numbers put it 34th among Ohio’s 88 counties. Lawrence County, in southern Ohio, was at the top for the second week in a row with 1,861.7. Eight counties reported case averages of more than 1,000 per 100,000 residents.

Cuyahoga County, which for several weeks at the beginning of the new year was at the top, stayed at the bottom for the third week in a row with 157, compared with 268.5 the week before. An average of 100 or more cases per 100,000 is considered a high incidence rate, so even though Greene County is seeing a decline in cases, it is still more than six times over the “high” mark.

• The total number of new cases in Greene County for the week of Feb. 6–12 was 408, compared with 886 the week before. The 45387 ZIP code accounted for two of the new cases this past week, compared with 16 the week before and 31 the week before that.

• New hospital admissions in Greene County also declined over the week of Feb. 6–12, numbering 17, compared with 40 new admissions the week before. The reported number of deaths in the county last week was 14, compared to 11 the week before.

• In Yellow Springs, the public schools reported two positive cases as of Friday, Feb. 12, a decline from six the week before. Both of the most recent cases were among Mills Lawn Elementary School students. No other district students or staff were in quarantine.

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