CINCINNATI — COVID-19 restrictions across the nation are all but gone but cases in the Tri-State are quickly rising.
Although the numbers are drastically lower than what we were seeing just a few months ago, Dr. Carl J. Fichtenbaum, Principal Investigator for UC's Moderna COVID-19 vaccine trial, said the current data could indicate that we are heading in that direction once again.
"Bottom line is that lots of people are getting COVID in the community," Dr. Fichtenbaum siad.
All counties in the Tri-State have once again reached either moderate, substantial or high COVID transmission levels, according to the CDC's COVID-19 data tracker, with the most populous counties at the highest risk level.
Dr. Fichtenbaum said it's important for people to think about their own risks and those of the people around them to make choices about activities based on that risk.
If you answer "yes" to any of the following questions, Dr. Fichtenbaum said you need to consider masking and be concerned about going out in public or gathering with people (including family and friends) in close proximity (meals, parties, etc.):
- Are you immunosuppressed?
- Are you older than 65 years of age?
- Do you have other health conditions where getting COVID might not be good for you?
While the transmission risk is high, COVID-19 community levels in the Tri-State are still in the CDC's lowest possible category. Dr. Fichtenbaum said not to use that number to make choices about how to react to the spread of the virus.
"Community level is a metric of several different things – It is transmission, hospitalizations and percent of hospital beds devoted to COVID," Dr. Fichtenbaum said.
He said there are not many people being admitted to hospitals for COVID-19, which is why that designation is still 'low.' But he said when that number rises, it's too late to react.
"I don’t think people should focus on the number of people in the hospital because when that starts rising, it’s a little late to make better choices," Fichtenbaum said.
According to the CDC 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. In Hamilton County for example, the rate of positive COVID tests was 12.26% in the last 7 days and new cases per 100,000 were at 122.21, prompting the "High" designation.
Here's a real-time look at where things stand right now
These are the Ohio counties in the CDC's highest level of community transmission risk:
Ohio updates its COVID-19 data every Thursday, according to the Ohio Department of Health. Click HERE to head to Ohio's dashboard.
These are the Kentucky counties in the CDC's highest level of community transmission risk:
Kentucky updates its COVID-19 data every Monday, according to the Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services. Click HERE to head to Kentucky's dashboard.
These are the Indiana counties in the CDC's highest level of community transmission risk:
Indiana updates its COVID-19 data three times a week, according to the states' COVID-19 dashboard website. Click HERE to head to Indiana's dashboard.
This is a side by side look at where Tri-State cases were one month ago compared to where they are now (may take a moment to load):
According to experts, the coming wave will likely be caused by a COVID mutation called BA.2. It's thought to be 30% more contagious than omicron. Health leaders said the wave will be bigger than it looks because cases are extremely under-reported due to more at-home testing.
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The Associated Press and ABC contributed to this article.