Here are the latest details on how the COVID-19 pandemic is impacting the area:
• Ohio Governor Mike DeWine last week announced a new vaccine incentive for school age residents. He emphasized that keeping kids in school, in-person, five days a week, remains a priority.
In addition to protecting kids from the severe effects of the virus, students who are vaccinated do not have to quarantine if exposed, which means they won’t miss out on school.
To encourage eligible kids to get vaccinated, DeWine announced the Ohio Vax-2-School program, which will be open to Ohioans aged 12 to 25 years old, and will be similar to the scholarship portion of the successful Vax-a-Million program.
Prizes will include 50 scholarships worth $10,000 each and five $100,000 scholarships to an Ohio college or university for career or technical education. Prizes will be announced Monday through Friday beginning the week of Oct. 11. More details will be announced, including how to register, in the coming days.
• The governor also relayed a letter he received from the Ohio Hospital Association.
“I received a letter from the Ohio Hospital Association outlining the dire conditions facing our hospitals, who are on the front lines of treating patients with COVID. While they are doing everything they can to help these patients, they are facing a severe nursing and staffing shortage,” said DeWine. “What they wrote is consistent with what we’ve been hearing from front-line health care workers.”
The letter reported that increasing cases are putting a strain on hospital resources. The data shows that in mid-July Ohio hospitals were treating 200 COVID-19 patients; today that number is 3,702. That’s a 16-fold increase in two months.
The letter described a situation where strained resources impact the ability to care for all patients. Some Ohio hospitals are diverting patients away from emergency departments, canceling certain procedures, experiencing long wait times in emergency departments, and shutting down certain units to redeploy staff to critical cases.
• DeWine also made a public plea after hearing from school districts across the state about the shortage of bus drivers. He asked any Ohioan with a CDL license who also has a bus driver certification, who are not employed, to contact their local school district, to help drive school buses temporarily.
He also spoke with Attorney General Dave Yost, who agreed that, moving forward, the Bureau of Criminal Investigation would prioritize required background checks for school bus drivers, educators, nurses, and other health care professionals.
• There were 230 new COVID cases reported last week by the Fulton County Health Department. That is up from 212 new cases the previous week.
As of Friday, there were 259 active cases in the county, which is down from 261 the previous Friday.
The week also saw 7 new hospitalizations and two new deaths.
Fulton County’s case rate jumped to 835.6 per 100,000 over the previous two weeks and is now higher than the state as a whole. Overall for Ohio, the rate was 698.7.
• Fulton County has had 5,435 overall cases as of Sunday, according to the Ohio Department of Health. There have been 83 deaths reported in the county.
In Lucas County, there have been 51,769 total cases with 869 deaths, according to the health department.
• Over the last two weeks, the Wauseon zip code had the highest amount of cases in Fulton County. There were 128 cases reported, for a case rate of 966.3 per 100,000.
Archbold was the next highest with 59 new cases and a case rate of 892.7. Swanton had 74 new cases and a rate of 584.4, Delta had 42 cases and a rate of 489.4, Fayette 19 and 692.9, Lyons 8 and 470, and a number was not available for the Metamora zip code.
• In Fulton County, 46.3% of residents have started the COVID-19 vaccine as of Sunday.
• COVID-19 vaccine is available Mondays at the Fulton County Health Department from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Walk-ins are welcomed.
It is also available at the Rite Aid locations in Archbold, Swanton, and Wauseon, the Swanton Kroger, and Wauseon Walmart.
• The CDC released guidance advising communities with substantial and high risk of transmission to be more diligent at controlling the spread of this disease. Fulton County is currently at high risk of community transmission.
More information on the CDC categories of community transmission risk can be found at covid.cdc.gov/covid-data-tracker/#county-view.
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