Ohio Among States with Highest Average Daily Cases per 100,000 people: As of Dec. 16, Ohio was number 8 among U.S. states with the highest average daily cases per 100,000 people. This was a slight improvement from earlier in the week when Ohio was number 5.
Local Situation Update: The reported number of new cases of COVID-19 within Union County has seemed to stabilize. To date, we have not seen a post-Thanksgiving surge in cases. Rather, we have seen the rate of new cases and hospitalizations seem to plateau, albeit at a significantly high level. This is both very good news and yet a situation that is still having an impact on our most vulnerable populations. An average of 1 to 2 Union County residents has been hospitalized each day in the previous 16 days (29 hospitalizations recorded from Dec. 01 to Dec. 17). An additional eight deaths were also reported since Dec. 01 (by report date, not date of death; 16 total COVID-19 related deaths have been reported among Union County residents to date).
We sincerely thank all our businesses, families, schools, faith partners, and community leaders for taking extra precautions during the Thanksgiving holiday. These actions are making a difference. We need to keep these efforts going. We need to continue to celebrate small as we close out 2020, wear our masks, watch our space, wash our hands, and stay home when we’re sick.
Vaccination Update: Governor DeWine announced today nursing homes in Ohio will start to be vaccinated tomorrow, Dec. 18. Facilities in Ohio will be among the first in the nation to receive vaccine through the federal Pharmacy Partnership. Many nursing homes and assisted living facilities, including those in Union County, will receive COVID-19 vaccination through this federal partnership over the coming weeks.
It is expected today that a U.S. advisory committee will recommend the Food & Drug Administration (FDA) issue an Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) for a second COVID-19 vaccine, the Moderna vaccine. If FDA does issue an EUA, Moderna vaccine is expected in Ohio next week. The Union County Health Department is preparing to receive and administer the first doses of COVID-19 vaccine by late next week. Initial doses received in Union County will be very limited. These initial doses will be administered in accordance with Ohio’s 1a priority group which includes EMS, persons with mental illness or intellectual disabilities living in group homes and staff of these facilities, and non-hospital healthcare workers with direct patient care. In Union County, initial vaccine administration will be coordinated directly with eligible organizations.
Quarantine Duration: The CDC continues to recommend a 14-day quarantine after known exposure to someone with COVID-19. This 14-day quarantine is the best option for reducing the risk for spreading COVID-19. Public health officials understand 14-days can be very difficult for some individuals. When a 14-day quarantine is not feasible, the Union County Health Department and the Ohio Department of Health are adopting CDC’s 10-day option for shortened quarantine. The 10-day option allows an individual to resume daily activities after 10 days from last known exposure as long as the individual has NOT developed symptoms. The Union County Health Department encourages the exposed individual to be vigilant in continuing to symptom monitor, social distance, and wear a mask for an additional four days to provide additional protection for family, friends and our community.
The Union County Health Department is not currently recommending the CDC’s 7-day and negative test option for shortened quarantine. This 7-day and negative test strategy is currently not a practical nor an equitable strategy for our community.
- Test results often take 2-4 days or longer to return;
- Testing without symptoms is not covered by many insurance plans;
- We must continue to ensure wide access to testing for ill people. This is a critical step in identifying and isolating COVID-19 patients as quickly as possible – a critical tool to protect our community. We don’t yet know how testing to shorten quarantine may impact our local testing capacity. The supply chain for testing supplies and lab capacities are still sensitive to disruptions and thus we are cautious in implementing strategies that could increase demand and impact access to testing for ill individuals. For these reasons, the Union County Health Department is not currently recommending a 7-day and negative test option as a practical strategy for our community.
The Union County Health Department will continue to review all of the quarantine recommendations as new information or the situation in the community evolves.
It is also important to note, if you share a home with a person with COVID-19, quarantine of household contacts is a critical strategy for protecting our community. On-going exposure often linked with sharing a home with someone with COVID-19 increases the risk for household contacts to contract COVID-19. Therefore, it is important that members of the home quarantine as soon as possible and for at least 10-days after the LAST member of the household is released from their 10-day isolation. Only if contact with others in the home can be substantially reduced during the entire infectious period (either the ill person completely isolates in their own bedroom and bathroom with meals brought to their door on disposable dishes/utensils or the healthy members of the home can separate completely from the ill person), should the quarantine for household members without symptoms start concurrently with the ill person’s isolation.