CINCINNATI — Tri-State COVID-19 community transmission is on the rise, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, with 10 counties in the Tri-State area once again reaching the highest level of risk for spread of the virus.
All counties in our region have once again reached moderate, substantial or high risk levels, according to the CDC's COVID-19 data tracker.
These are the counties in the CDC's highest level of community transmission risk:
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.
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.
While the community transmission risk in parts of the Tri-State is now high, overall COVID-19 community levels in every county in our area are still in the CDC's lowest possible category.
COVID-19 community level is 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.
Although the numbers are nowhere near what we were seeing just a few months ago in December and January, Dr. Carl J. Fichtenbaum with the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine and Principal Investigator for UC's Moderna COVID-19 vaccine trial said the early numbers could indicate that we could be heading in that direction once again.
"Community level is a metric of several different things – It is transmission, hospitalizations and percent of hospital beds devoted to Covid," Dr. Fichtenbaum said. That's two-thirds of that specific metric and regardless, cases are rising.
"Bottom line is that lots of people are getting COVID in the community and that is causing illness but not that many people have to go to the hospital."
Dr. Fichtenbaum said it's important for people to think about their own risks and those of the people around them and make choices about activities based on that risk.
Ohio updates its COVID-19 data every Thursday, according to the Ohio Department of Health. Click HERE to head to Ohio's dashboard.
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.
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.
The National Impact
The United States reached a tragic milestone Monday as the CDC reported one million COVID-19 deaths in less than 3 years into the outbreak.
Last week, the Biden Administration announced COVID-19 killed one million Americans.
"Each an irreplaceable loss," President Biden said in a statement.
"I know the pain of that black hole in your heart. It is unrelenting. But I also know the ones you love are never truly gone. They will always be with you."
President Biden warned that as a nation, we must not grow numb to such sorrow.
"We must remain vigilant against this pandemic and do everything we can to save as many lives as possible, as we have with more testing, vaccines and treatments than ever before," he said.
The president added that it is critical for Congress to act and work to sustain these resources in the months ahead.
Despite the statement from the White House and the numbers from the CDC, The World Health Organizationand Johns Hopkins University have not yet reached the one-million mark.
- As of 6:14 p.m. May 13, The World Health Organization reported 991,595 American deaths from COVID-19.
- As of 11:00 a.m. May 16, Johns Hopkins University reported 999,607 American deaths from COVID-19.
As of 11:00 a.m. May, 16, the CDC has not updated it's website's data to reflect one million deaths. The number still stands around 997,000.
President Joe Biden appealed to world leaders at a COVID-19 summit Thursday to reenergize a lagging international commitment to attacking the virus, the Associated Press reported. He also ordered flags lowered to half-staff.
“This pandemic isn’t over,” Biden said at the second global pandemic summit. He spoke solemnly of the once-unthinkable U.S. death toll.
The U.S. is believed to be the first nation to reach 1 million COVID-19 deaths since the start of the pandemic, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. Globally, the virus is considered the cause of over 6 million deaths.
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The Associated Press and ABC contributed to this article.