LOGAN — Following a couple of breaks in county COVID-19 cases, the Hocking County Health Department announced 14 active cases of the virus in the county Monday, and as of Thursday, that number had risen to 16.
The county’s numbers are stable though it has been averaging two or less cases per day for the past few days, Health Commissioner Doug Fisher told The Logan Daily News Wednesday. He explained that the rise in active cases reflects a larger nationwide resurgence in the coronavirus pandemic.
“I think that we’re going to experience what virtually every county in Ohio and every state is experiencing with the current situation,” Fisher said. “With the Delta variant, folks more lax as far as preventative measures, the county) is most likely to experience an increase in cases, which is concerning.”
On Tuesday the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) officially recommended fully vaccinated people to once again don masks to protect against the Delta variant in public indoor areas of substantial or high transmission.
According to the CDC, the Delta variant, or variant B.1.617.2, was first identified in India and has increased transmissibility. The Delta variant is present in Hocking County, Fisher said.
“We have received a specimen that was positive for the variant,” Fisher said. “We know it’s here, we speculate it’s here — we have to be concerned about it.”
According to the Ohio Department of Health’s (ODH) COVID-19 dashboard, the county didn’t have any COVID cases between June 21 and July 5. Following the case-free two-week period, on July 6, the health department announced on its Facebook page that it would no longer be posting case counts on its page. There were also no cases between July 12 and July 16.
According to the ODH dashboard, as of Thursday afternoon, the county had a total of 2,229 cases, 152 hospitalizations, 63 deaths and 2,137 presumed recovered cases.
According to the ODH, as of Thursday, almost half of the state’s population have started the vaccine process — 49.15%, or 5,745,422 people.
In Hocking County, as of Thursday, only 38.34% of the population have started a vaccine, or 10,836 people. Fisher considers the county to have a fairly low vaccination rate.
“(Interest has) definitely dropped off,” Fisher said. “We’re not seeing near the numbers (we were). We still have people trickling in and we’re still very much recommending those who are not vaccinated to come in or get vaccinated and start the process. We are concerned, especially with the variants out there.”
Hocking County’s vaccination rate is close to its bordering counties’ as of Wednesday: Athens, 42.80%; Fairfield, 47.08%; Perry, 33.65%; Pickaway, 41.34%; Ross, 39.90%; and Vinton, 31.70%.
However, Hocking’s cumulative case count (2,229) is significantly less than some of its neighbors, as of Thursday; Athens stands at 5,276; Fairfield, 16,851; Perry, 2,993; Pickaway, 8,760; Ross, 7,044; and Vinton, 874.
According to ODH dashboard graphics, Hocking County vaccination rates peaked in late February and into early April, though there was a spike late May, possibly due to Gov. DeWine’s May 12 announcement about children ages 12–15 for authorization for Pfizer vaccinations. Statewide, and in Hocking County, the majority of those who’ve received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine are those ages 50–59.
Fisher said that the virus is likely to mutate amongst an unvaccinated population, thus more variants will develop.
“What the concerning part is (that) we’re gonna see a situation where the virus mutates into a variant (to where) people are not protected by vaccines, and then we know the entire population is susceptible to more severe illness and so on, if it does mutate,” he said.
“We need more people to get vaccinated here in Hocking County to keep it from causing problems this fall and winter,” Fisher concluded.
There are multiple locations offering free vaccinations in Hocking County:
Shrivers Pharmacy, 21 Hocking Mall, (740) 216-4496, www.shriverspharmacy.com/COVID-19-Vaccination/
- ; however, as of Friday morning, there were no scheduled vaccination dates listed
- Kroger pharmacy, 31550 Chieftain Drive, (740) 380-2041,
- Hocking Valley Community Hospital, HVCH COVID-19 Vaccine Clinic, CIC Building, 541 Route 664 N., (740) 380-8402
- Hocking County Health Department, 350 Route 664, (740) 385-3030,
- Hopewell Health Centers, Logan Primary Health Care Clinic, 30381 Chieftain Drive, (740) 385-2555
- CVS Pharmacy, 1390 W. Hunter St., (740) 385-8581,
According to a press release Wednesday, Hocking Athens Perry Community Action, or HAPCAP, is now offering free rides to vaccine appointments for those in Hocking County through Logan Public Transit, Monday through Friday, from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Interested passengers may schedule by calling (740) 385-6999.
Vaccine scheduling and more information can also be accessed on the state’s website, gettheshot.coronavirus.ohio.gov/.
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