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COVID Update | March 10, 2022

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More free COVID tests available

During a State of the Union address on Tuesday, March 1, President Joe Biden announced that, starting this week, Americans may order an additional four free COVID-19 tests from the government. Free rapid antigen tests, delivered by the U.S. Post Office, were first made available in January to any U.S. household that requested them.

Tests may be ordered online at covidtests.gov, which states: “Every home in the U.S. is eligible to order two sets of four free at-home tests. If you already ordered your first set, order a second today.” Tests may also be ordered by calling 1-800-232-0233.

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Mask mandates lifting regionally

Following updated county guidance on indoor mask-wearing from the Centers for Disease Control, or CDC, last week, some area mandates on masking have been lifted.

In Montgomery County, the Dayton Performing Arts Alliance alerted ticket holders over the weekend that masks will no longer be required at its performances, and the Dayton federal building also dropped its mask mandate.

On March 3, Wright-Patterson Air Force Base lifted mask requirements for employees and visitors as long as community health levels remain at “low” or “medium”; masks are still required for anyone entering the Wright-Patterson Medical Center.

Locally, Yellow Springs Schools announced on Monday, March 7, that masking will be optional for students and staff beginning Wednesday, March 9. It added that students who are exposed to a positive case may remain in school but must wear a mask, self-monitor for 10 days and test if symptoms begin.

The CDC’s updated county guidance on wearing a mask indoors is based on three community factors:

• The number of people with COVID-19 admitted into local hospitals in the last week;

• The number of hospital beds being used by COVID-19 patients; and

• The number of new cases the county has had in the last week.

If those factors combined are considered high, the CDC recommends wearing a mask indoors. If determined to be medium, or low, the CDC has lifted the mask recommendation. Greene County is currently considered at a low community level by the CDC’s revised factoring.

The CDC continues to recommend that those who are at higher risk wear masks and maintain physical distance.

State, county COVID numbers

According to data disseminated by the Ohio Department of Health, COVID-19 numbers across the state continued to decline over the past full week, with Greene County numbers also reflecting a downward trend.

• The state’s daily number of new cases tallied during the week of Sunday, Feb. 27, through Saturday, March 5, moved from 587 reported on the 27th to 834 at week’s end. 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 1,199 on Feb. 27 to 861 on March 5.

• The state reported 466 new COVID-19 hospital admissions for the week of Feb. 27–March 5, compared to 748 the week before.

• The number of COVID-related deaths in Ohio fell to 438 for the week of Feb. 27–March 5, compared with 1,086 the week before. The total number of deaths in the state since the beginning of the pandemic was 37,018 as of March 5.

• Looking at the number of new cases per 100,000 residents in a two-week period, data which is released each Thursday, the state’s average of the counties’ latest totals was 104.7 per 100,000 residents on March 3, compared to the previous week’s 160.7 average.

• Like the state as a whole, Greene County also experienced a decrease in its per-100,000 total, with 102.4 as of March 3, compared to 164.6 as of Feb. 24. Greene County’s latest numbers put it at 56th among Ohio’s 88 counties. Lawrence County, in southern Ohio, was at the top with 546.6, compared to 812.3 the week before. Holmes County, in east central Ohio, was at the bottom, with 34.1 cases per 100,000 residents.

• The total number of new cases in Greene County for the week of Feb. 27–March 5 was 196, compared to 220 the week before. The 45387 ZIP code accounted for five of the new cases this past week, compared to four the week before.

• New hospital admissions in Greene County also rose slightly over the week of Feb. 27–March 5, numbering 17, compared with 14 new admissions the week before. The reported number of deaths in the county last week was nine, compared with 16 the week before.

• In Yellow Springs, the public schools reported two positive cases as of Friday, March 4, down from seven cases the week before. Both of the most recent cases were among Mills Lawn Elementary School students. Quarantining, in addition to those two, were one student from the middle/high school and two students from the elementary school. No district staff tested positive or were quarantined.

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