Governor Mike DeWine informed the public during his weekly press conference that Vinton County is now the only county in Ohio that has managed to dip below the high incidence level for the COVID-19 virus. This follows a pattern for the county as they were also the last to have a recorded case of the virus back on April 25, 2020.
The low incidence level means that the county has relatively few cases in comparison to its population size, with a rate of 99.4 cases per 100,000 people. With a population of just over 13,000, Vinton is the least populated of all Ohio’s counties. This coupled with the distance between dwellings in the area could have contributed to the low rate.
DeWine articulated the importance of masking up even as Ohioans look towards the spring and summer months in the wake of extreme winter weather. Dr. Bruce Vanderhoff, Chief Medical Officer at the Ohio Department of Health, brought up the fact that the virus is changing and becoming more contagious as it spreads. He explained this will continue until a majority of us are vaccinated, a term considered herd immunity.
“It will take some time for enough of us to get vaccinated until it is no longer a threat”, said Dr. Vanderhoff. “
Vaccines are working very well, but our national vaccination effort needs more time. We have to keep up our work of preventing spread through masking and distancing.”
Dr. Vanderhoff also brought up flu numbers as evidence of the effectiveness of masks stating that 5,500 hospitalizations in the state due to the flu occurred last year. That number has plummeted to under 100 flu hospitalizations for this past flu season.
Multiple COVID-19 variants have been detected in the United States. According to the Center for Disease Control’s website, there are currently three COVID-19 variants present in the country, B 1.1.7, B 1.351, and P.1. The most common of the three is the B 1.1.7 strain, also known as the UK or British variant, which has almost 1,300 cases reported across the country. Only one case of the B 1.1.7 has been reported in Ohio with no cases of the other two present as of Feb. 16, 2021.