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New COVID case rates decline in some local counties

Rates of new COVID-19 cases in most area counties have decreased, according to the latest data from the Ohio Department of Health.

And Washington County moved back down to a community level of “medium” on the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s weekly metric, which advises people at greater risk for severe illness to consult with their doctor about whether they should wear masks.

Washington County, population 59,911, recorded 178 new cases from June 16-29 for a rate of 297.1 per 100,000 people, according to the ODH stats. That rate was the 19th highest among Ohio’s 88 counties. A week ago, the county’s rate was 323.8 per 100,000, 11th in the state, on 194 new cases from June 9-22.

The Ohio Department of Health releases its data on Thursdays, which is also when the CDC updates its community level guidance. That takes into account the number of new cases per 100,000 people in the preceding seven days, as well as the number of hospital beds occupied by patients with COVID.

Last week, Washington County found itself in the “high” category, based on the rate of new cases being above 200. In that classification, the CDC recommends people wear masks in indoor public settings. But this week, Washington County – as well as Athens, Monroe, Morgan and Noble – were all in the medium tier.

Noble County was the only one in the area that saw an increase in its new case rate. According to the state statistics, the county of 14,424 had 42 new cases from June 16-29 for a rate of 291.2 per 100,000, 21st in the state. In the previous span, Noble County had 32 new cases and a rate of 221.9 (43rd).

Athens County dropped to the 10th highest rate in the state, 368.9 per 100,000, with 241 new cases among its 65,327 residents. A week ago, its rate was the second highest with 411.8 from 269 cases.

Morgan County, which was at or near the top of the Ohio’s county rates for much of June, saw a further decrease in the latest numbers, with 37 new cases for a rate of 255 per 100,000, which ranked 33rd. Before that, the county had the state’s eighth-highest rate with 344.6 on 50 new cases among its 14,508 residents.

Monroe County, population 13,654, maintained the lowest rate locally with 190.4, based on 26 new cases. The rate was 65th in the state, a week after the county ranked 46th with just four more cases, for a rate of 219.7.

Ohio’s statewide rate rose slightly from 241.2 per 100,000 to 253.2.

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