Montgomery County drops to ‘medium’ COVID community level; first time since July

Warren County moves from ‘low’ to ‘medium,’ is only county in area to rise.

Montgomery County dropped to a “medium” COVID-19 community level Friday after it had been “high” since July.

COVID levels have continued to decline in the county. As of the week ending Thursday, the two-week incident case rate decreased from 399.9 per 100,000 last week to 354.7 per 100,000 this week, Public Health - Dayton & Montgomery County announced Friday.

“It’s good news that the number of cases are going down, and we hope that trend continues throughout the fall,” said Dan Suffoletto, PHDMC public information manager.

Credit: CDC

Credit: CDC

Preble County also dropped from “high” to “medium,” but breaking the positive trend was Warren County, which jumped from “low” to “medium” in the latest CDC update using data from Aug. 31 to Sept. 6.

Butler, Clark, Darke and Greene counties remain unchanged at “medium,” and Champaign and Miami counties remain at “low” community levels.

The CDC uses the number of new coronavirus cases per 100,000 people in the past week, new COVID hospital admissions and the percent of staffed inpatient hospital beds occupied by coronavirus patients to determine COVID community levels.

The Ohio Department of Health reported Thursday that weekly cases dropped again after the number of cases reported last week increased for the first time in a month.

The state added 21,731 cases in the last week, which is about 3,500 fewer than reported Sept. 1, according to ODH data.

Thursday also marked the third consecutive week that hospitalizations have decreased across the state. Ohio reported 575 hospitalizations in the last week compared to 604 hospitalizations the previous week.

Despite weekly cases remaining above 20,000, most people are not getting seriously ill, ODH Director Dr. Bruce Vanderhoff said during a Thursday morning press briefing.

Coronavirus patients accounted for fewer than 5% of hospital beds and 3.8% of ICU beds in the state, according to ODH.

In the two-and-a-half years of the COVID pandemic, Ohio has seen three primary spikes in cases, hospitalizations and deaths, followed by lulls before the virus surged back again.

The first spike was in November-December 2020. Then after months of relative calm, a smaller spike hit in September 2021. Just as that wave appeared to be ending, the worst spike yet hit from December 2021 to January 2022. But 2022 saw a rapid decrease in COVID in late winter and spring, and rather than another spike, Ohio saw a more gentle rise followed by a decline in recent months.

“As we move through the various phases of this pandemic, it is important for us to make adjustments to the precautions that we take,” Montgomery County Health Commissioner Jennifer Wentzel said in a statement.

When a county is designated at a medium level in the CDC’s framework, the following actions are recommended:

  • If you are at high risk for severe illness, talk to your health care provider about whether you need to wear a mask and take other precautions.
  • Stay up to date with COVID-19 vaccines. Updated COVID-19 boosters can both help restore protection that has decreased since previous vaccination, and can provide broader protection against newer variants.
  • Get tested if you have symptoms.
  • Follow CDC recommendations if you test positive or are exposed to someone who has COVID-19.

If you are immunocompromised or at high risk for severe disease, learn more about how to protect yourself with additional CDC recommendations for each COVID-19 community level.

“Even though the number of cases are going down, we want to remind people its important to stay up to date with the latest boosters,” Suffoletto said.

Health officials said it is not too late to get vaccinated against COVID-19. Vaccination rates range from 40.84% of people in Darke County who have had at least one shot of the vaccine to up to 69.47% in Warren County, according to ODH. Approximately 60.67% of residents in Montgomery County have had at least one shot of the vaccine, which includes a change of 180 vaccinations from last week.

“We’ve been holding steady in the number of vaccinations we’ve been doing here at Public Health,” Suffoletto said.

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