Data hints local COVID-19 cases peaking; hospitalizations remain high

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

Caption

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

Too early to tell where trend will head, experts say, and continued safety precautions urged.

There are some signs that COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations might be peaking in the region, though it’s too soon to tell where the trend will head.

“From the hospitalization perspective, this does not mean that we are out of the woods just yet,” said Sarah Hackenbracht, CEO of the Greater Dayton Area Hospital Association.

For the west central Ohio region, there were 373 people hospitalized with COVID-19 Wednesday afternoon, which is a 7% decline over the last week.

Still, the number of hospitalized patients overall remains dramatically higher than two months ago when 50 people were in one of the region’s inpatient beds with COVID-19.

ExploreOhio sees record hospitalizations for COVID patients younger than 50

The first week of July, at one point only eight people in west central Ohio were in a hospital bed with the coronavirus.

The highly transmissible Delta variant has since become the dominant strain in Ohio and has torn through unvaccinated communities and families to push hospital capacities.

Public Health - Dayton & Montgomery County Commissioner Jeff Cooper said cases appear to be leveling off, but it is too early to tell.

“We may have plateaued. It’s a little too early to say that,” said Cooper, speaking at this week’s Dayton Public Schools board meeting.

With the hospital data, Hackenbracht cautioned that there have been times in the past when their patient loads declined for a few days and then surged again.

Hackenbracht said it is important that people take precautions, including at fall events and festivals.

“This Delta variant is so highly transmissible that if you are in close contact with people outside and not wearing masks, you are putting yourselves at risk, particularly if you are non-vaccinated at this point in time,” she said.

Precautions urged for safe worship gatherings

Precautions are still urged, especially when in an indoor crowded space.

Public Health officials in Greene County said Wednesday that one growing area of concern are those in the faith-based communities of the county who have begun to relax their safety protocols.

ExploreArea pediatricians answer questions about children and coronavirus vaccines, masks

Greene County Public Health said the best measures to keep everyone healthy include:

• Everyone, regardless of vaccination status, wearing a mask when indoors and around others not from your household. Proper wearing of a mask includes full covering of the mouth and nose.

• Washing hands thoroughly and often with warm soapy water for at least 20 seconds. Hand sanitizer is also valuable if washing is not available at the time. Instead of shaking hands to greet one another, consider a fist bump or touching elbows.

• Wiping down heavily touched surfaces often with anti-bacterial wipes.

• Staying at least 6 feet away from others if possible.

• Stay home if experiencing symptoms of COVID-19, or if unvaccinated and have been around someone who has tested positive for the virus.

About 53.5% of Ohioans have at least started a vaccination, including more than 62% of the vaccine-eligible population.

Find a COVID-19 vaccination location at gettheshot.coronavirus.ohio.gov.

New testing sites

Kettering Health is re-establishing two COVID-19 testing sites for employees and patients.

The testing sites are at Southview Medical Center in Washington Twp., and the Huber Health Center.

ExploreVOICES: Why I changed my mind and decided to get vaccinated

The sites are only for preprocedural patients and patients with a physician order and appointment. Those with a physician order can schedule a test using MyChart or by calling 937-558-3903 or 937-558-3988.

If people don’t meet these requirements but are symptomatic or require testing for travel, they can visit the network’s On-Demand Clinics and Urgent Care locations.