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COVID-19 Cases Heading In The Wrong Direction, Hamilton County Leaders Say

A few months ago, Hamilton County was seeing its lowest COVID-19 case numbers in nearly a year. Now, the county is trending toward the wrong direction again, officials say.

Hamilton County Commissioner Denise Driehaus held a COVID-19 briefing Wednesday to discuss escalating cases due to the delta variant's rapid spread. This was the first county briefing in three months. Since then, more than 8,000 people have contracted the coronavirus. More than 5,000 cases are currently active.

Health Commissioner Greg Kesterman says the county is reporting 252 cases per day. He says the county is heading in the wrong direction and hospitalizations are climbing at an unprecedented rate.

"It's concerning because over the last 48 hours, we had 35 more people admitted into our region's hospital systems," Kesterman said. "Of those, we have 110 folks within the intensive care unit. Clearly when you see this type of increase, it puts a significant stress on our hospitals."

In late May, 46% of the county's population had received at least one dose of a vaccine. Since then, only slightly more than 8% received a shot. Kesterman says the county is providing more information to make people more comfortable receiving vaccinations. Plus, there is one trend that's making a difference.

"As more and more places and employers require vaccination, we have started to see that upward trend of vaccination rates and I hope to see that upward trend continue until we hit that 80% local goal for vaccine[s]," Kesterman said.

Currently, 65% of Greater Cincinnati's eligible population has received at least one dose of a vaccine.

At least 88,832 people have tested positive for COVID-19, an uptick of more than 8,000 over the previous three months. More than 3,500 hospitalizations and 1,289 deaths have been reported during the pandemic.

This story will be updated.

Cory Sharber attended Murray State University majoring in journalism and political science and comes to Cincinnati Public Radio from NPR Member station WKMS.