Several significant developments occurred at the end of last week. Here is a short recap. More details are in the sections below.
- Union County is now below the CDC indicator for high level of COVID transmission.
- Under updated CDC mask guidance, masking is not indicated for the general population in our community at this time. Individuals at high risk for severe illness are encouraged to talk to their doctor about mask usage. Individuals who care for or have social contact with someone at high risk for severe illness should consider wearing a mask when indoors with the high-risk individual.
- Masking is no longer required on school buses. CDC is also aligning guidance for masking in K-12 settings with general community guidance.
- Home COVID test kits are available at UCHD. Reserve a kit online.
- Union County’s drive thru PCR testing is now closed.
- COVID vaccination clinics have moved into our nursing clinic. Appointments available Monday-Friday. Call 937-645-2058 to book an appointment.
Union County Drops from High to Substantial COVID Transmission
The sharp decline in COVID cases in Union County has continued. Union County has now dropped below the CDC indicator for high transmission level. Union County is currently at a substantial transmission level with a rate of 71.2 new cases per 100,000 people (raw count of 42 cases over previous 7 days) as of data through Feb. 26. This is down from a rate of 368 reported on Feb. 08. (CDC Indicator for high level of transmission is rate >100 new cases per 100,000 people). The positivity percentage for Union County is now 8.8% which is also below the indicator for high transmission.
CDC Updates Mask Guidance; New Metrics Inform Community Level Masking Recommendations
The CDC updated mask guidance on Friday. The updated guidance offers recommendations for masking based on a county’s risk for strain on healthcare systems from COVID. The metrics look at the rate of new hospital admissions and the percent of staffed inpatient beds occupied by COVID patients. These two metrics are viewed in context of the county’s rate of new cases. Using the metrics, counties are labeled either low, medium or high risk.
This tool currently indicates Union County is at a medium risk. Under medium risk, masking is not indicated for the general population. Individuals who are at high-risk for severe illness, such as older adults and immunocompromised persons, are encouraged to talk with their doctor about wearing a mask. Individuals who care for or have social contact with a person at high-risk for severe illness are encouraged to wear a mask when indoors with the high-risk individual. Individual at high-risk for severe illness are also encouraged to have a plan for rapid COVID testing and should talk to their doctor in advance of illness about treatment options and how to get them.
Home Test Kits Available; Drive-Thru PCR Testing Closes
Home test kits are back in stock and available for pick up at the Union County Health Department and local libraries. Tests kits can be ordered online for pickup from the Union County Health Department. Limit 4 tests per household. Pick up is now inside our lobby. Call ahead for test kit pickup from Marysville and Richwood libraries.
UCHD’s drive thru PCR testing at the Union County Fairgrounds is now closed due to low demand. PCR testing is available at several local pharmacies such as Meijer and Kroger. Appointments typically can be made online.
COVID Vaccination Clinics Available; Process Changes
UCHD continues to offer COVID vaccinations for ages 5 and older Monday through Friday from 10am-4pm. We offer Pfizer vaccine and can provide first, second, third or booster doses. We do NOT have Moderna or Johnson & Johnson vaccine. As we have incorporated COVID vaccination into our existing clinic and medical records system, we are no longer booking appointments online. To book an appointment, please call 937-645-2058.
Booster Doses & Info for Immunocompromised Persons
The CDC recommends staying up-to-date on COVID vaccination. For most people age 12 and older, this includes receiving a booster dose at least 5 months after receiving a second Pfizer or Moderna vaccine. For individuals who received a single Johnson & Johnson vaccine, a booster dose of either Pfizer or Moderna vaccine is recommended at least 2 months later.
At this time a fourth dose of COVID vaccine is not recommended for the general population.
A booster dose is not recommended at this time for people ages 5 through 11 years.
For individuals who are severely or moderately immunocompromised and age 12 or older, a fourth dose is recommended. For this group, the primary series of Pfizer or Moderna vaccine consists of three doses and a booster dose for a total of four doses. The third dose should be administered 28 days after the second dose, and a booster dose at least 3 months after the third dose. Those severely or moderately immunocompromised individuals who received a Johnson & Johnson dose should get a second shot of Pfizer or Moderna vaccine 28 days after their Johnson & Johnson dose and a booster at least 2 months later.
Community Vaccination Rate
Approximately 64% (37,926 people) of Union County residents have started the COVID vaccine series. Approximately 61% (36,316) are considered fully vaccinated. Of those who are fully vaccinated, approximately 50% (18,306) received a booster dose.