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Washington 87th of 88 counties for new COVID rate

Washington County is nearly in last place in the state for the rate of new COVID-19 cases per capita, according to the most recent statistics from the Ohio Department of Health.

ODH posts the number of new cases in each county over the last two weeks every Thursday afternoon. The statewide average was 359.1 per 100,000 people, down from 616.7 on Sept. 30, but a far cry from the 19.6 figure recorded on July 1.

Washington County saw 148 new cases among its 59,911 residents from Oct 14-27. That’s a rate of 247 per 100,000, the second lowest out of the Buckeye State’s 88 counties and above only Hamilton County’s 236.6.

Last week, the county showed 180 new cases and a rate per 100,000 of 300.4, which was 85th in the state.

It continues a slide for the county from ranking 12th six weeks ago.

That’s good news, said Sherry Ellem, public information officer for the Washington County Health Department, but it doesn’t mean the threat of the virus has passed.

“Anything over 50 per 100,000 is still considered high transmission,” she said. “Yes, it’s going down and it’s because we’ve taken precautionary measures. So we need to continue being careful.”

As the virus is expected to eventually move from a pandemic to an endemic phase, where it is still present but manageable, people will need to make good choices and do what they can to protect the most vulnerable, Ellem said.

“Vaccination is really the best tool we have right now,” she said. “If they choose not to get the vaccination, yes, do all the protective measures that you can.”

Monroe County saw 59 cases for the two-week period, down from 94 from Oct. 7-21. That sent the county of 13,654 residents from a rate of 688.4 per 100,000 to 432.1 and all the way from 15th in the state to 46th.

Morgan County, another rural southeastern Ohio county with a smaller population, dropped even further. New cases decreased from 87 to 49, and the rate of 599.7 per 100,000 slid from 24th to 66th, at 337.7.

Noble County’s change was in the same direction, from 46th to 49th. There were 60 cases among its 14,424 residents in the most recent two weeks for a rate of 416 per 100,000. That’s compared to 71 cases and a 492.2 rate per 100,000 last week.

Athens County actually moved up from 81st to80th, but its overall cases declined from 222 to 188. The rate per 100,000 went from 339.8 to 287.8.

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