COVID-19 in the Tri-State: Where things stand with school back in session

Summer is winding down and with school back in session, parents have to again worry about how COVID-19 might affect the classroom.

“One trend that we’ve seen here recently is that all the age groups that have positive rates, the one that’s that has increased the most over the last month is the age five to 17, the school age,” said Dr. Stephen Feagins, Mercy Health’s Chief Clinical Officer.

The good news: The FDA on Wednesday authorized its first update to COVID-19 vaccine booster doses that are meant to target the most common variants in circulation. According to the Associated Press, the shots could be available within days. The hope with Wednesday’s announcement is that the modified boosters will blunt yet another winter surge.

Until now, COVID-19 vaccines have targeted the original coronavirus strain, even as wildly different mutants emerged and dominated in the U.S.

Here’s where things stand in the Tri-State:

Fewer people are being hospitalized with COVID-19 in Kentucky and Ohio, however, that’s not the case for Indiana.

Dearborn, Franklin, Ohio and Ripley counties all are in the highest category for COVID-19 community levels, according to the CDC. One month ago, those counties had either medium or low community levels.

Ohio is looking a little bit better. Warren and Hamilton counties are now in the medium range of COVID-19 community levels. Last month they were in the high category. Clinton and Highland counties have consistently stayed in the medium category for the past two months.

Butler County, however, is in the high category. The data shows an average 219 cases per 100,000 people.

Inpatient beds at Butler County hospitals are 5.8% full with COVID-19 cases, the state reports.

According to the data, most counties in Northern Kentucky now have the lowest community levels.

Carroll County is the exception. In July, the county had a low community level. As we head into September, it is in the highest category.

COVID-19 community levels are determined by the number of new cases per 100,000 people in the past seven days and the number of COVID-19 patients in the hospital. The CDC uses this information to determine guidance on what precautions are needed, such as masking.

The CDC recommends people wear masks indoors, regardless of vaccination status, in counties with high COVID community levels.

According to medical experts, the best way to lower community levels is to get vaccinated.

It is important to note that despite hospitalizations going down in many counties in the Tri-State, the virus is still spreading. According to the CDC, COVID-19 community transmission levels in most of the United States are high. All counties in the Tri-State have the highest possible levels of community transmission, according to the CDC. This has not changed over the past month.

Community transmission risk is measured by two factors: The number of new cases per 100,000 people in the past seven days and percentage of positive tests during the past seven days.

WCPO is a content partner of the Journal-News.

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