Belmont County No. 3 in the state

ST. CLAIRSVILLE — Belmont County ranks third in the state in COVID-19 occurrence rate, Gov. Mike DeWine announced Monday.

The governor shared data that indicate Belmont County has 220.9 cases per 100,000 residents, with 148 cases among its 67,006 residents. The data is collected over a two-week period, and it was current as of April 28. Of the Ohio’s 88 counties, only Lucas and Cuyahoga have higher occurrence rates, at 270.1 and 229.6 per 100,000, respectively.

The news came as the Belmont County Health Department said its COVID-19 vaccination outreach is moving to a new set of schools this week and providing doses to homebound residents in Bellaire. Following last week’s vaccination clinics in the St. Clairsville-Richland City and Shadyside Local school districts and at St. John Central Academy in Bellaire, Deputy Health Commissioner Robert Sproul said there will be more school and apartment complex clinics this week, along with the normal weekly clinic at the Ohio Valley Mall.

The latter will be held 9 a.m. to noon Thursday in the former Sears store for people needing their second dose, then from 1-5 p.m. for walk-ins. Sproul also texted that clinics will be set up in the Barnesville Exempted Village School District from 10 a.m. to noon today and the Bridgeport Exempted Village School District from 1-3 p.m. Friday.

On Wednesday the health department will set up clinics at Rose Hill Towers and the Dr. William L. Shepard apartments in Bellaire.

Outreach to homebound individuals also was a component of DeWine’s appearance on the Ohio Channel. DeWine said a “playbook” for agencies that work with homebound can be found at coronavirus.ohio.gov under “Covid-19 vaccination programs.”

“Those individuals come in contact with people because there may be caregivers who are coming in and going out of the home, so again it’s very important that these individuals who are homebound have the opportunity to be vaccinated,” he said. “By utilizing existing rapid response teams, we can work to deliver vaccine to those individuals.”

DeWine said homebound individuals who would like to be vaccinated can call the Area Agency on Aging at 866-243-5678 or the health department at 740-695-1202.

DeWine said overall cases and hospitalizations are down and lower than the 21-day average, and the statewide average is 147.9 cases per 100,000 people. It had been in the 180s during late April.

“We are moving in the right direction in regards to cases,” DeWine said. He has set a goal of 50 cases per 100,000 residents before lifting all COVID-19 restrictions.

Sproul said there have been 6,121 total cases in the county since the pandemic’s onset, with 310 people isolated at home with active cases or hospitalized, 5,695 recoveries. A total of 116 residents have died after contracting the virus.


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