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Monroe County COVID cases increase

WOODSFIELD — COVID-19 cases have more than doubled in the past month in Monroe County with a high percentage of cases being among the younger population.

The Monroe County Health Department recently released a graph depicting the number of COVID-19 cases in the county by month and the corresponding age range of those positive cases.

The graph shows a significant increase in cases over the past two months.

Robin Groves, emergency response coordinator for the county health department, said the department has been receiving some inquiries related to the age groups of the cases in the county, which prompted her to create the graph.

“We’ve never been able to be very specific with that, so we wanted to give a graphic that was easy to read for people to understand that we’re seeing a younger population affected by COVID and the delta variant in the community,” she added.

According to the county’s graph, there were a total of 27 positive cases throughout the month of July — seven individuals in the 19 and under age range, 10 in the 20-39 age range, nine in the 40-59 age range and one in the 60-79 age range.

In August, the county reported a total of 171 cases — 34 in the 19 and under age range, 50 in the 20-39 age range, 50 in the 40-59 age range, 19 in the 60-79 age range and 18 in the 80 and older age range.

The confirmed cases in the county have more than doubled in September, and there is still nearly a week left in the month.

According to the graph, there have been a total of 384 positive cases so far this month with nearly 29 percent being among the 19 and under age group. Of the 384 cases this month, 111 cases are in the 19 and under age range, 103 in the 20-39 age range, 96 in the 40-59 age range, 44 in the 60-79 age range and 15 in the 80 and old age range.

Groves said the majority of the older population has been vaccinated leaving them more protected against the virus, unlike some of the younger population.

“A lot of the younger people are either not able to get vaccinated yet or haven’t been vaccinated yet,” she said.

As of Thursday, a little more than 39% of the county has been vaccinated. Only 6.56% of those ages 19 and under have received the vaccine while 76.28% of those 80 and older have been vaccinated, according to the Ohio Department of Health.

Groves said they have recently begun to see more minors coming in to receive their vaccines. She said “it won’t be long” until they begin vaccinating younger children, but for now they will continue administering it to ages 12 and up.

She said she is unsure if they have seen the county’s peak in cases or if they will continue to increase.

“We’re heading into sports season and people are going to be indoors more instead of outside. It’s hard to tell,” she added.

The health department continues to offer open clinics weekly. The next Moderna clinic for residents ages 18 and older is set for 9-11 a.m. and 1:30-3:30 p.m. Tuesday at the health department. The next Pfizer clinic for residents ages 12 and older is set for 9-11 a.m. and 1:30-3:30 p.m. Thursday. Third doses for individuals undergoing cancer treatments, organ transplant recipients, stem cell transplant, HIV infection, or undergoing corticosteroid treatment are available by appointment only. To make an appointment call 740-472-4299.

Groves said they are also planning to hold a flu shot clinic in the near future. She said information regarding the clinic will be announced on the department’s social media page.

At the end of the month, the department plans to release additional information regarding the county’s cases including the vaccination status of the positive individuals. Groves said the majority of the positive cases they have seen are of unvaccinated residents, although there are some breakthrough cases.

“Just like any county, we are having breakthrough cases of vaccinated individuals; however, for the most part they are less symptomatic and tend to recover much quicker than unvaccinated individuals,” she said.

As of Tuesday, the county has a total of 1,898 confirmed cases, 1,659 recoveries, 45 deaths and 194 active cases. The department updates its confirmed cases once a week. According to the Ohio Department of Health, the county has a total of 1,908 confirmed cases, 1,554 recoveries, 49 deaths and 305 active cases.

Groves encourages residents to follow the mitigation efforts to help stop the spread.

“I’d really like to see people wearing a mask when they can’t social distance from others, especially when they’re inside in close quarters, cover your cough, and doing lots of hand washing,” she said. “… Just stay safe and be kind.”

She said there are a range of opinions out there regarding the virus, and regardless of those opinions, we need to remember to be kind to one another.

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