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Hamilton Co. residents 'need to be vigilant' against COVID-19 as Thanksgiving approaches

Hamilton County Commission (screenshot from Nov. 17, 2021 COVID-19 Briefing)

Hamilton County leaders are warning citizens to stay vigilant as COVID-19 cases are on the rise heading into the Thanksgiving holiday.

The county is averaging roughly 165 COVID-19 cases per 100,000 people. Commissioner Denise Driehaus says the numbers are still "fairly high," but the region's cases are plateauing.

"I do think it points to the fact that we still need to be vigilant," Driehaus said. "I think we're optimistic about more people getting vaccines, especially kids, but we still need to be vigilant because people are getting COVID, we've got plenty of spread in our community still and we just need to be careful."

Hamilton County Commission (screenshot from Nov. 17, 2021 COVID-19 Briefing)

Health Commissioner Greg Kesterman says the county is dealing with 5,200 active cases. The county's reproductive number is above 1 and there's a slight increase in hospitalizations.

"Those ending up in the hospital are traditionally, at this time, between the ages of 50 and 79, with nearly 85% of those individuals having not had a vaccine," Kesterman said.

Currently, 349 COVID-19 patients are in the hospital. Of those, 110 are in the ICU with 79 on ventilators.

Vaccines are now available for anyone ages 5 and up after the FDA authorized the Pfizer vaccine for emergency use. Dr. Patricia Manning at Cincinnati Children's says the hospital has vaccinated over 2,600 children since opening clinics two weeks ago.

"We have had a better response than I think even we did when the teenagers came online for vaccinations, so that's been very encouraging," Manning said. "Yes, we did have some lines early on, but I think a lot of our systems have improved."

The county's positivity rate is at 7.4%. Roughly 67% of the county's residents ages 12 or older have received at least one dose of a vaccine. For the county's total population, the percentage is roughly 60%.

Corrected: November 17, 2021 at 7:23 PM EST
A previous version of this article misstated the number of kids Cincinnati Children's has vaccinated. It has been corrected.
Cory Sharber attended Murray State University majoring in journalism and political science and comes to Cincinnati Public Radio from NPR Member station WKMS.