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Noble sees COVID increase, other area counties down

Noble has highest rate in the area, is now ranked 19th in the state

Noble County was the only area county to see an increase in the rate of new COVID-19 cases over the last two weeks, as the state average dropped.

According to the most recent numbers from the Ohio Department of Health, there were 408.6 new cases per 100,000 people statewide from July 28 to Aug. 10, down from 441.6 from July 21 to Aug. 3.

Noble County had the highest rate in the area at 547.7 per 100,000, 19th highest in the state. That’s the result of 79 new cases in the last two weeks among the county’s 14,424 residents. For the previous period, Noble County was 66th in the state with 388.2 new cases per 100,000 people on 56 cases.

Athens County, population 65,327, had 321 new cases for a rate of 491.4 per 100,000, which ranked 26th in the state. A week earlier, the county’s rate of 549.5 (359 cases) was 20th in the state.

Washington County remained 38th, though new cases in the county of 59,911 dropped from 288 (480.7 per 100,000) to 267 (445.7).

Monroe County, whose population is second smallest in the state at 13,654, had 56 new cases in the most recent two-week period compared to 65 in the prior span. That dropped its rate from 476.1 (39th) to 410.1 (59th).

Morgan County, which had the highest rate in the state in mid-June at 468.7, had the fifth lowest this week at 282.6. There were 41 cases among the county’s 14,508 residents, down from 49 in the previous period.

Morgan and Washington counties were rated “high” on the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s COVID-19 Community Levels metric. The agency recommends people in those areas wear masks in indoor public settings.

Washington County remained in the high category, while Morgan moved up from medium, under which people at increased risk of severe illness are advised to consult with their health care provider about masking and other precautions.

Athens, Monroe and Noble all went from high to medium, according to the CDC statistics.

Calculated weekly and released on Thursdays, it’s based on the higher number of COVID hospital admissions per 100,000 people in the previous seven days or the seven-day average of inpatient beds occupied by COVID patients, with the number of new cases per 100,000 people in the previous seven days also taken into account.

The Memorial Health System had 15 COVID patients Friday, said Jennifer Offenberger, associate vice president, service excellence.

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