WAVERLY— Thursday marked a new numerical high, or what some might call a new outlook low, in the stage of the COVID-19 pandemic in Pike County.

With more than 100 active cases reported by the Pike County General Health District, Jan. 13 surpassed the previous single-day record from September 2021 by more than 30 cases.

Now with 87 active cases in the county, its case rate continues trending upwards according to the Ohio Department of Health. Pike County now has a case rate of 1,832.8 per 100,000 residents, up from 1,213.5 per 100,000 last week, which is the 34th-highest rate of all counties in the state.

Numbers are possibly lower than they appear, many not reporting the results of their take-home tests to PCGHD. The district recommends those that do test positive to quarantine for five days after showing symptoms and to notify any close contacts.

Three new deaths were also made known this week by the district, bringing the county total to 88. The deaths were a male and female in their 60s and another female in her 70s.

National Guard in Chillicothe

With the surging numbers statewide, Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine moved to deploy additional National Guard members earlier this week to testing locations across the state.

“We are grateful that National Guard members are continuing to fill critical roles in our state’s response to this pandemic, especially as the strain on our health care providers continues,” said DeWine. “As cases increase across the state, the best thing Ohioans can do is to stay up to date on their COVID-19 vaccine.”

Twelve testing locations across the state are being supported by the guard, including the Adena Regional Medical Center in Chillicothe.

PCGHD has been providing take-home tests as well, distributing more than 10,000 since late August. It has also ordered additional tests from ODH with the hope that they arrive next week.

In the new year, cases have routinely surpassed 18,000 each day in the Buckeye state and hospitalizations are reaching unprecedented levels.

According to the Ohio Hospital Association, there were 6,607 COVID-19 patients in Ohio hospitals on Thursday. This made up one-in-three of all hospital patients and was a 144% increase over the past 60 days.

Vaccine Mandate

On Thursday, the U.S. Supreme Court moved to block President Joe Biden’s vaccine-or-test mandate for large businesses, but permitted the mandate for health care workers.

The decision was welcomed news to DeWine and Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost, who believed the mandate was a form of federal government overreach.

“Americans have lost too much to this disease already – all of us want this pandemic to end – but it is critical that we do not lose our Constitution, too,” Yost said in a written statement. “Today’s ruling protects our individual rights and states’ rights to pursue the solutions that work best for their citizens.”

The mandate would have required 84 million Americans to be vaccinated, leading to much higher vaccination rates across the country.

In Pike County, ODH reports 46.7% of the population have started the vaccination which trails the state average of 60.6%

Recoveries

Some solace can be made perhaps through the number of recoveries reported by PCGHD over the last ten days. Since Jan. 6, more than 400 recoveries have been documented- now surpassing 5,500 since the beginning of the pandemic.

Contact Patrick Keck at pkeck@newswatchman.com or by phone at 740-947-2149, ext. 300431 and follow him on Twitter @pkeckreporter.

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