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

COVID Update | March 17, 2022

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“We’re entering a new phase of our experience of COVID-19,” Dr. Bruce Vanderoff, executive director of the Ohio Department of Health, or ODH, said in an online press conference Thursday, March 10.

Case numbers are “at their lowest level since August,” and “we’re evolving from a pandemic to more of an endemic,” Vanderhoff said. A disease is endemic when it remains present in the population but relatively static, such as with the flu or common cold.

He said the CDC’s recent change in how it assesses a community’s level of risk is in response to the evolution of the disease.

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The CDC now weighs three factors, which Vanderhoff likened to a “three-legged stool”:
• 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 that we wear 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.

With the decrease in active cases in Ohio, the ODH this week has changed how often it posts case, vaccination, hospitalization and death data to once a week, on Thursdays, Vanderhoff also announced. Some information had been updated to the ODH website daily, and some twice a week, while the per capita numbers already were being posted weekly.

In addition, the ODH is no longer requiring K–12 schools to report positive cases of COVID-19 to their local health department unless “the school has actually tested the student and determined the positive result,” Vanderhoff said.

Other requirements being lifted for K–12 schools, according to the ODH, include: maintaining a COVID-19 reporting system for parents; having a designated COVID-19 coordinator for the district; and notifying parents of positive COVID-19 cases among staff, students or coaches.

Yellow Springs school district Superintendent Terri Holden said this week that the district will continue to report known cases on its website, and that the school nurses will track cases as part of their regular duties.

• The state’s number of new cases tallied during the week of Sunday, March 6, through Saturday, March 12, moved from 834 reported on the 6th to 480 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 897 on March 6 to 674 on the 12th.

• The state reported 323 new COVID-19 hospital admissions for the week of March 6–12, compared to 466 the week before. Total hospitalizations across the state as of Sunday, March 13, was 615.

• The number of COVID-related deaths in Ohio last week was higher than the number of new hospitalizations, with 392 deaths reported, compared to 438 the week before. The total number of deaths in the state since the beginning of the pandemic was 37,410 as of March 12.

• Looking at the number of new cases per 100,000 residents over a two-week period, the state’s average of the counties’ latest totals was 70.4 per 100,000 residents on March 10, compared to the previous week’s 104.7 average.

• Like the state as a whole, Greene County also experienced a decrease in its per 100,000 total, with 68.7 as of March 10, compared to 102.4 as of March 3. Greene County’s latest numbers put it 52nd among Ohio’s 88 counties. Gallia County, in southern Ohio, was at the top with 314.4. Holmes County, in east central Ohio, was again at the bottom with 27.3 cases per 100,000 residents over two weeks.

• The total number of new cases in Greene County for the week of March 6–12 was 92, compared to 196 the week before. The 45387 ZIP code accounted for three of the new cases this past week, compared to five the week before.

• New hospital admissions in Greene County rose slightly over the week of March 6–12, numbering 20, compared to 17 new admissions the week before. The reported number of deaths in the county last week was seven, compared to nine the week before.

• In Yellow Springs, the public schools reported two positive cases as of Friday, March 11, the same as the week before. One of the cases was a Mills Lawn Elementary School student and the other was a district staff member. Quarantining, in addition to those two, were one student from the middle/high school and one student from the elementary school.

• Free rapid antigen tests remain available through the U.S. Post Office. Every household is eligible to order two sets of four at-home tests online, at http://www.covidtests.gov, or by calling toll-free at 800-232-0233.

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