CINCINNATI — COVID-19 cases are on the rise in the Tri-State, but health officials said Wednesday the state is in a good position. That’s because of an increase in vaccine and treatment options, as well as a growing immunity to the virus.
“There’s no question where we sit now is a much better place than where we sat (in January),” said Dr. Bruce Vanderhoff with the Ohio Department of Health. “What we were facing in January was in many respects, a perfect storm.”
According to Vanderhoff, COVID hospitalizations topped 6,700 in January. Today, there were 614.
“Based on my verbal communication with colleagues, it also appears that many of those admissions are for other reasons among patients who also happen to have COVID,” Vanderhoff said.
Still, health officials warn that people should still have a plan to deal with COVID in the future.
“Have I planned to keep my vaccination series up to date? And if I am at higher risk for getting hospitalized, higher risk for developing severe disease? Do I have a plan in place to get tested and work with my provider?” Vanderhoff said. “We’re now in an era where I see it increasingly up to us if we’re going to beat COVID-19.”
Dr. Joseph Gastaldo with Ohio Health said high-risk patients in particular should have conversations with their doctors about antiviral or antibody treatments and make a plan for how to respond if they get covid.
“If you have a high-risk condition, what is your plan to get access to these outpatient treatments?” Gastaldo said.
People can also use the CDC’s new COVID-19 community level map to determine risk.
“That (map) takes several metrics including number of cases, hospitalizations, how well our hospitals are staffed, just general community spread,” said Greg Kesterman, Hamilton County Public Health Commissioner. “Early on during the pandemic, we were solely focused on cases. Now, people are testing at home so cases are really not a perfect reflection of what’s happening in the community.”
Right now, all but one Ohio county is listed as “low” on the map, including Hamilton County.
“Right now our seven-day average is about 150 cases per day, but thinking about where we were just a few months ago, we were at about 2,500 cases per day," Kesterman said. "So we are seeing an increase but in the grand scheme of things it’s not that large at this time."
Ohio updates its COVID-19 data every Thursday, according to the Ohio Department of Health. Click here to see Ohio's dashboard.