Monroe ranks top in-state COVID-19 occurrence rate

Monroe County has the highest COVID-19 occurrence rate in the state due to its small population size and large number of current cases.

According to the Ohio Department of Health’s latest statistics, the county is No. 1 in virus occurrence rate, having 137 new cases among 13,790 residents in the past two weeks, or an occurrence rate of 1,120.6 cases per 100,000.

But while it is No. 1 in occurrence rate, Monroe County is one of only four Ohio counties that remain at Level 2, or orange, on the Ohio Public Health Advisory System’s color-coded risk assessment map. Ohio’s other 84 counties are all at Level 3, or red, on the color-coded system.

Linda Masters, administrator of the county’s health department, said Monroe County rose to the top of the list because of the high percentage of its small population that has become infected over the last two-week period.

“We have such a small population. So even though we may have less active cases than surrounding counties, it still moves us up the list,” she said. “It’s still very concerning, and it shows that the virus has really spread throughout our community.”

Masters said the number of coronavirus cases continues to rise throughout the county.

“We’re getting notified of multiple and multiple cases a day. It’s really stretching our staff to the limit,” she said.

On Wednesday, the county had its highest number yet of new cases reported in a single day after 30 individuals received positive test results. The cases were due to community spread and not connected to a single incident or location, she said.

Masters said the county is attempting to hire additional workers to help with the influx of positive cases and the workload of notifying their close contacts.

In addition to the high number of cases, the county has been administering its first round of vaccines to individuals in Phases 1A and 1B of the state’s rollout, which has kept the department staff busy.

“We just hope the public can be patient with us as we work through this process and try to do it as fairly and organized as possible,” she said.

Masters urges residents to continue to follow COVID-19 safety guidelines, such as wearing facial coverings in public and social distancing even if a person has received the vaccine.

“Please continue to wear masks and social distance. Don’t relax when we get the vaccine, because you can still get the virus even if you’ve received the vaccine,” she said.

Masters and other health officials have said a person who has received the vaccine can still contract and spread the virus. As a result, it’s important for residents to continue to don facial coverings to help stop the spread, she said.


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