CINCINNATI — Ten counties in all three states now have high levels of community spread of COVID-19, according to the latest data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Hamilton, Butler, Warren, Clermont, Brown and Adams counties in Ohio are all in “orange” on Thursday’s COVID-19 community levels map. Only Clinton and Highland counties remain in “yellow”, representing average community levels.
The CDC recommends people wear masks indoors, regardless of vaccination status, in counties with high COVID community levels.
In Kentucky, Boone, Grant, Kenton, and Gallatin counties are listed as having high COVID community spread. Campbell, Owen and Pendleton counties have medium community spread. Counties in the “green” with low community spread include Bracken, Carroll and Mason.
The Indiana portion of the tri-state has much lower community spread, the data shows. No county in the region has high community levels. Dearborn, Switzerland and Union counties are all in the “green”. Fayette, Franklin, Ohio and Ripley have average community levels.
Dr. Stephen Feagins, medical director of Hamilton County Public Health, said the latest variant of COVID is causing increased community spread.
“We have a variant…that’s very transmissible and, in fact, that’s the kind of recurring variant,” Feagins said. “The case rate that we’re talking about is the emergency department and the health care tests – the PCRs. When you look at that percentage, that’s when you start to see, oh yeah, we have to take more precautions because we are hitting the healthcare system.”
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Feagins said the true number of positive COVID cases in the three states is likely much higher because those taking home tests aren’t counted in the data.
The rise, Feagins said, is in line with the recovery after the summer 2021 rallies when the delta and omicron variants were prevalent.
“We’re more at a plateau this year that we’re likely to stay at a rampant positivity rate,” Feagins said. “We would be concerned about 3-4% positives at this time last year. Right now 20% positives in Hamilton County and we’re sort of, you know, almost business as usual. And it’s It’s the point of having some kind of metric if we can say, hey listen, at this point we need to take more care. OK, we can back off.
Feagins said people should think twice about going to places with large groups during a heavy community spread.
The CDC says the best way to lower community levels is to get vaccinated.
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