Sunday, February 25, 2024

COVID-19 rates declining in area

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Most area counties saw their new COVID-19 case numbers decline, along with the state average, in the most recent statistics from the Ohio Department of Health.

The exception was Noble County, though the increase from four new cases from March 2-15 to six from March 9-22 only raised its rate from 27.7 cases per 100,000 people to 41.6. That took the county of 14,424 residents from the lowest rate among Ohio’s 88 counties to the second lowest.

Morgan County, population 14,508, had 19 new cases and a rate of 131 per 100,000 people that ranked 21st in the state. In the earlier period, the county had 25 new cases and its rate of 172.3 per 100,000 was 11th.

Monroe County’s rate dropped dramatically. After posting 23 new cases among its 13,654 residents and ranking 14th with its rate of 168.4 per 100,000 in the earlier span, the county saw 11 new cases and a rate of 80.6 per 100,000 that was 69th.

The changes were less sharp in Washington and Athens counties.

Washington County, population 59,911, decreased from 63 new cases to 50 and its rate from 105.2 (52nd) to 83.5 (66th).

Athens County, population 65,327, went from 67 to 61 new cases and its rate from 102.6 (54th) to 93.4 (58th).

All five counties remained low on the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s COVID Community Levels scale. The agency recommends people with greater risk of developing severe illness from the virus consult with a health care provider about precautions such as masking in counties labeled low.

Masks in indoor, public areas are recommended for those individuals under a medium classification and for everyone under high. The ratings are based on new COVID cases per 100,000 people and hospitalization statistics for the preceding seven days.

The statewide average of new COVI-19 cases per 100,000 people decreased for the fourth consecutive period, from 117.9 to 106.7.

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