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COVID Update | March 31, 2022

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COVID-19 numbers continued to hearten health officials last week, with new case numbers rising slightly in Ohio while decreasing in Greene County, and the number of new hospitalizations and deaths going down across the state and locally, according to the latest data released by the Ohio Department of Health, or ODH, on Thursday, March 24.

“Ohio appears to have put the most recent surge behind us,” Dr. Bruce Vanderhoff, executive director of the ODH, said last week during a press conference streamed online.

He’s not ruling out the possibility of another surge, however.

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“COVID-19 has a real habit of throwing us curveballs,” Vanderhoff said, adding that health officials are watching developments around the world, particularly the recent emergence in Europe of a second subvariant of the omicron variant.

Vanderhoff likened the subvariant, dubbed Ba2, as a cousin of the subvariant Ba1, which was prevalent here. He said that while the new subvariant appears to be more contagious, it has a similar severity of illness and response to vaccination. Also, it’s rare to see the new subvariant after a Ba1 infection, adding that Ba2 has yet to make much of an appearance in Ohio and isn’t expected to have as dramatic an effect as Ba1 has had.

“It’s clear, COVID-19 is not a thing of the past,” Vanderhoff said. “COVID-19 is not going away, but is becoming part of the fabric of our lives. It’s something we must learn to successfully manage as it ebbs and surges. That means we have to be prepared as a state and as individuals.”

The doctor said the current “lull” offers an opportunity to prepare for whatever might come next. Preparation includes being fully vaccinated, upgrading ventilation systems in work and public spaces, acquiring the most effective masks and ensuring the accessibility of tests.

• With the state now posting updated numbers weekly, on Thursday afternoons, the number of new cases tallied from March 17–24 were 3,668, compared to 3,605, for March 10–17.

• The state reported 193 new COVID-19 hospitalizations for March 17–24, compared with 309 for March 10–17. Total COVID-19 hospitalizations across the state as of the 24th were 423, compared with 542 on the 17th.

• The number of COVID-related deaths in Ohio continues to fall, with 185 deaths reported March 17–24, compared with 396 the week before. The total number of deaths in the state since the beginning of the pandemic was 37,793 as of the 24th.

• 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 41.2 per 100,000 residents on March 24, compared to 49.4 reported the week before.

• Like the state as a whole, Greene County also experienced a decrease in its per 100,000 total, with 31.4 as of March 24, compared to 36.7 as of March 17. Greene County’s latest numbers put it 71st among Ohio’s 88 counties. Hocking County, in southeast Ohio, was at the top for a second week with 187.5. Coshocton County, in central Ohio, was at the bottom with 10.9 cases per 100,000 residents over two weeks.

• The total number of new cases in Greene County for March 17–24 was 38, compared to 49 the week before. The 45387 ZIP code accounted for three of the new cases in the most recently reported week and two of the cases the week before.

• New hospital admissions in Greene County for March 17–24 numbered 22, compared to 26 the week before; and the reported number of deaths in the county for the same periods were two and four, respectively.

• By the recently updated measure of the Centers for Disease Control — which now factors in the number of new hospitalizations, the number of hospital beds occupied by COVID-19 patients and the per capita case rate — Greene County’s community level is “low.”

• 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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