PUBLIC HEALTH ALERT: HIGH LEVEL OF COVID-19 IN UNION COUNTY, OH
Our Union County community is seeing a high level of spread of the virus that causes COVID-19. The risk for exposure to COVID-19 has increased significantly in comparison to what we experienced over the summer. As of Aug. 11 data, Union County’s rate of new COVID-19 cases is 120 per 100,000 people as of Aug. 11 data. This rate of new cases is similar to what our community experienced in mid-October 2020 and April 2021 and exceeds the CDC’s indicator for high levels of disease activity (>100 cases/100,000 people). More than 70 new cases were reported among Union County residents in the past seven days. In the last 11 days, six Union County residents have required hospitalization.
Individuals who are concerned about their health or the health of a loved one should understand the risk for contracting the virus that causes COVID-19 has increased in comparison to June and July. We can’t know for certain how long the increase will last or if this is the start of an extended surge, but it is important for residents to understand our community is at a higher transmission level than we have experienced since the end of April 2021.
At this level of spread, it is recommended that worksites and community gathering locations reaffirm sick policies for employees and guests, increase ventilation indoors and refocus on cleaning protocols. It is recommended individuals over age 2 wear masks in public indoor settings and practice social distancing to the extent feasible.
The CDC guidance for reducing your risk during times of high community transmission include:
- Get vaccinated if age 12 or older.
- Conduct a daily health check and stay home if you are sick.
- Maintain social distancing as much as possible.
- Wear a mask indoors in public to maximize your protection (even if you are vaccinated).
- Wash hands frequently with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
- Use hand sanitizer when soap and water are not available.
- Avoid touching your face.
- Cover coughs or sneezes.
Individuals who have weakened immune systems, individuals who care for someone with weakened immune systems, and anyone over age 2 wanting to maximize protection are encouraged to layer COVID-19 vaccination with mask wearing.
Vaccination is the Best Way to Limit Your Risk for Severe COVID Infection
An estimated 53 percent or 31,300 Union County residents have received at least one dose of COVID-19 vaccine. An estimated 85 percent of Union County residents age 60 and older have received at least one dose of COVID-19 vaccine. An estimated 64 percent of forty something and fifty something individuals have received at least one dose of vaccine. Just less than 60 percent of 30 something individuals and about 40 percent of twenty somethings have received at least one dose of COVID-19 vaccine. About 19 percent of 0-19 year old individuals have received one dose of COVID-19 vaccine (note that individuals under age 12 are not yet authorized by the FDA to receive vaccination).
The Union County Health Department continues to offer vaccinations on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays. Making an appointment will provide the shortest vaccine visit, but walk-ins are welcome. To get vaccinated and learn more, click here.
COVID Testing is Available
Individuals who are sick with symptoms of COVID-19 are encouraged to get tested especially if their is suspicion of exposure. Free at-home rapid antigen test kits are available from the Union County Health Department, Marysville Public Library and Richwood-North Union Library. Please call ahead before stopping in to pick up a test kit. Click here to learn more.
At this time, the governing bodies for US immunization practices are not recommending COVID-19 booster vaccines. We are watching this closely to be ready to respond if and when this changes. Some may have heard the U.S. Food and Drug Administration amended the emergency use authorizations (EUAs) for both the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine and the Moderna COVID-19 Vaccine to allow for the use of an additional dose in certain immunocompromised individuals, specifically, solid organ transplant recipients or those who are diagnosed with conditions that are considered to have an equivalent level of immunocompromise. This is just the first step in the process. The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) will review and provide further recommendations to the CDC. At this time, we are awaiting direction from the Ohio Department of Health as to when, and how to proceed. We are not providing boosters until this guidance is received. We will release information as we know more.