Local health officials plead for holiday caution as COVID cases spike

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

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Credit: DaytonDailyNews

Health departments from eight local counties issued a plea for residents to exercise caution for the holiday season as COVID-19 cases have spiked throughout Ohio.

“The number of COVID-19 cases in Ohio is on the rise.” a release from the West Central Ohio Region of Public Health, which includes Champaign, Clark, Darke, Greene, Miami, Montgomery, Preble and Shelby counties.

From Oct. 26 to Nov. 15, the state’s two-week case rate increased by 12%, from 412.2 per 100,000 people to 460.0. Ohio has recorded a 12% increase in statewide hospitalizations in the last seven days.

“Cases are also increasing in school-aged children,” the release said, “with Montgomery County seeing a 32% increase in school cases for the week ending Nov. 8. Greene County is also seeing an increase of 24%.”

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The health departments urged residents to take all necessary precautions to stop the spread of COVID-19 in their communities as the holiday season arrives.

“Travel and social gatherings can play a leading role in COVID-19 transmission if proper precautions are not taken,” the release said. “One of the best things you can do to protect yourself and your loved ones is to get vaccinated. Vaccination helps protect you from infection and reduces the severity of symptoms for those who become ill.”

Individuals should also pay close attention to any signs of COVID-19 and get tested if any symptoms develop.

Public health officials offered these general COVID-19 precautions:

  • Protect others and yourself by getting a COVID-19 vaccination.
  • Wear well-fitted masks over your nose and mouth if you are in public indoor settings if you are not fully vaccinated. (Even those who are fully vaccinated should wear a mask in public indoor settings in communities with substantial to high transmission).
  • Outdoors is safer than indoors.
  • Avoid crowded, poorly ventilated spaces.
  • If you are sick or have symptoms, don’t host or attend a gathering.
  • Get tested if you have symptoms of COVID-19 or have a close contact with someone who has COVID-19.

If you are considering traveling for a holiday or event, visit CDC’s travel page to help you decide what is best for you and your family. CDC still recommends delaying travel until you are fully vaccinated.

  • If you are not fully vaccinated and must travel, follow CDC’s domestic travel or international travel recommendations for unvaccinated people.
  • If you are traveling in a group or family with unvaccinated people, choose safer travel options.
  • Everyone, even people who are fully vaccinated, is required to wear a mask on public transportation and follow international travel recommendations.

Special COVID-19 precautions for families with compromised individuals:

  • People who have a condition or are taking medications that weaken their immune system may not be fully protected even if they are fully vaccinated and have received an additional dose. They should continue to take all precautions recommended for unvaccinated people, including wearing a well-fitted mask, until advised otherwise by their healthcare provider.
  • You might choose to wear a mask regardless of the level of transmission if a member of your household has a weakened immune system, is at increased risk for severe disease, or is unvaccinated.
  • If you are gathering with a group of people from multiple households and potentially from different parts of the country, you could consider additional precautions (e.g., avoiding crowded indoor spaces before travel, taking a test) in advance of gathering to further reduce risk.
  • Do NOT put a mask on children younger than 2 years old.