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Harrison moves to yellow on advisory system

Photo Provided Cars line up Friday during Harrison County Health Department’s drive-thru COVID-19 vaccine clinic where approximately 200 second doses were administered throughout the day.

CADIZ — After only flagging one indicator this week on the Ohio Public Health Advisory System’s color-coded map, Harrison County has moved down to risk Level 1, the yellow category and least serious designation.

Harrison County is one of only four counties in the state that are at Level 1 on the advisory system. The other three counties include Noble, Fayette and Brown.

Garen Rhome, administrator of the county’s health department, said the county flagged one out of seven indicators this week — having a percentage of cases in non-congregate settings. He said all of the county’s cases over the past 14-day period have been in the community, which is how the indicator was flagged.

“None of our cases were in a long-term care facility or congregate setting,” he said. “The indicator really helps inform the system and the community that these are isolated cases, not in one specific facility, and the spread is in the community.”

Until this week, the county has also flagged a second indicator of having over 50 cases per 100,000 population. In the last two-week period, the county has had a decrease in cases leading to it dropping the indicator. Rhome said the county has received notification of seven new cases in the 14-day reporting period.

“That put us right below the 50 per 100,000 mark. If we had eight cases during that period, it would have flagged that indicator and we would have stayed in the orange category,” he said.

The county is ranked 87th among Ohio’s 88 counties for COVID-19 occurrence rate based on its number of current cases and population size.

Due to the county’s population of just over 15,000, it has 46.5 cases per 100,000 population.

However, just because the county has moved to risk Level 1 does not mean it will remain there. Rhome said he is optimistic while also remaining cautious.

“It’s good news, but it’s right on the line of Level 1 (and) Level 2,” he said.

The county reported four new cases Thursday which were not factored into the most recent advisory system map.

“So there’s a chance we could move back to the orange category, and we’ll just have to keep up the efforts,” he said.

While Harrison County’s cases have decreased over the weeks, the same can not be said for Ohio in general, where the reported positive cases have continued to increase. Rhome said the virus does not abide by county lines on a map, so residents must remain vigilant in their mitigation efforts to help slow the spread.

“We want to make sure residents continue mitigation efforts and get vacationed,” he said.

Belmont and Jefferson counties remain at risk Level 3, and Monroe County remains at Level 2. Jefferson County is ranked No. 9 in virus occurrence rate, having 165 cases with a population of 65,325; Belmont County is ranked No. 26, having 132 cases with a population of 67,006; and Monroe County is ranked No. 49, having 20 cases with a population of 13,654. All three are marked as high incidence counties.

Rhome said the county’s vaccine rollout has been going well. Around 29% of the county residents have received the vaccine, according to the Ohio Department of Health. Between Thursday and Friday, the health department administered 250 doses of the vaccine to residents aged 18 and older.

WVU Medicine Harrison Community Hospital is currently scheduling 144 time slots for a drive-thru clinic set for Saturday, May 15. The clinic is available for residents 18 and older. The link is available on the health department’s website and Facebook page for those interested in scheduling an appointment.

Rhome said the weekend clinics are a great opportunity for residents to attend who are busy throughout the week and have been unable to attend the weekday clinics. For more information on the clinic, contact the hospital at 740-942-4631.

As of Friday, Harrison County has a total of 1,067 reported cases, 1,037 recvories, 24 deaths and six active cases.

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