WAVERLY- The recent surge in COVID-19 cases in Pike County and surrounding areas is presenting an increasingly difficult situation for local schools, nursing homes, and hospitals.
According to the Ohio Department of Health, no county has had a higher case rate over the past two weeks than Pike County. More than 500 cases have been reported in that frame for a case rate of 1,948 per 100,000, whereas the state rate is 582.4 cases per 100,000.
Case increases are only a part of the troubling trend to start September. Since Sept. 1, the Pike County General Health District has reported eight COVID-19 related deaths and 12 hospitalizations.
The district is also reporting new cases at nursing homes and assisted living centers throughout the county, where eight cases out of the 50 reported on Friday were residents.
The first half of the month has seen multiple high school game cancellations and school closures, Waverly City Schools going virtual this week and Eastern Local Schools closing its doors on Monday and Tuesday.
After the ODH reported 217 new cases in Scioto County on Friday, the Southern Ohio Medical Center, based out of Portsmouth, reported record-high percentages of hospital beds are being used by COVID patients the next day.
This usage — more than 20% of the hospital’s 248 beds as of Saturday — has the hospital preparing to open its fourth treatment unit. The increase in hospitalizations also means there are fewer beds available for other patients in need of emergency care.
“This affects more than just patients with COVID-19,” SOMC said in a statement. “The dramatic increase in COVID hospitalizations means there may not be a bed available for those who wake up with chest pains. Or those who suffer a stroke. Or those involved in a car crash.”
What SOMC says is aiding the spread are the unvaccinated populations in the region, which remains in the majority of Ohio counties. Locally, the vaccinated make-up 35.1% of the county.
According to recent data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, unvaccinated individuals are five-times more likely to be infected with COVID-19 and 29-times more likely to require hospitalization. More than 90% of SOMC’s COVID patients are unvaccinated.
SOMC urged the community to come together to help reverse this trend, stating “for more than a year, this pandemic has loomed over all of us. It will take all of us to make it stop.”
The health district provides new case reports and information on where to get vaccinated on their Facebook page. More than 14,500 vaccines have been administered by the district.
Contact Patrick Keck at email@example.com or by phone at 740-947-2149, ext. 300431 and follow him on Twitter @pkeckreporter.