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Southern and eastern Ohio counties being hit hardest by illness

SOUTHERN AND EASTERN Ohio counties were the focus of state trepidation in recent days as Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine announced that Monroe County was the worst-hit by the coronavirus pandemic last week.

“All 88 counties are well above the high incident level,” he prefaced his remarks. “Now, unfortunately, Monroe County – small, beautiful Monroe County – is now number one. (With) 1,120 (case rate per 100,000), so it’s 11 times the high incidence level.”

According to data released by the Ohio Department of Health on Thursday, Monroe County has confirmed 137 new coronavirus infections among its estimated 13,790 residents in the last two weeks.

In addition to new infections, the eastern side of the state is seeing the highest use of intensive care units in hospitals — and it is a region with markedly less hospital capacity than its more urban counterparts to the north and west surrounding Ohio’s metropolises.

“You’ll see that the highest area again is eastern Ohio,” DeWine said in discussing ICU occupation.

Eastern and Southeastern Ohio are designated by the state within Zone 2, Hospital Preparedness Regions 7 and 8, allowing the state to track bed and equipment capacities cumulatively for hospitals within each region.

Region 8 includes Belmont, Harrison, Jefferson and Monroe counties, along with Morgan, Noble, Guernsey, Coshocton, Muskingum, Washington and Perry counties.

Athens and Meigs counties are in Region 7.

Region 7 capacities as of Thursday:

∫ 69 out of 111 ventilators are available.

∫ 26 out of 91 intensive care beds are available.

∫ 166 out of 644 inpatient hospital beds are available.

Region 8 capacities as of Thursday:

∫ 70 out of 92 ventilators are available.

∫ 18 out of 68 intensive care beds are available.

∫ 155 out of 611 inpatient beds are available.

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