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Local COVID infection rates staying steady at a high level

A chart from the Hamilton County Public Health shows about 100 more new cases reported a day this summer, compared to 2021. As of June 30, 2022, there were 113 new cases, compared to an average of ten a week, a year before.

COVID may not be making headlines, but it hasn't disappeared. In fact, Tiffany Mattingly with The Health Collaborative says the area is still at a high transmission level, and has been for about a month.

“If you look up at Warren County, they’re actually at the upper threshold of that high, in their transmission level," she says. "They’re greater than 200 cases per week per 100,000 (people), which is a lot. And when I say that, there’s a caveat there as well, because we’re not capturing all the cases.”

Mattingly says the widespread use of home testing kits means some cases aren't being reported.

She says the omicron B-A.4 and B-A.5 variants are the dominant strains in the U.S. Mattingly says omicron is thriving in the Middle East and Europe.

“We’ve seen the impact that it’s had on hospitalizations, especially in Portugal. Portugal has a greater than 90% vaccination rate.”

Mattingly says locally, just over 60% of the population is vaccinated. She says south central Ohio counties are only at a 40% to 50% vaccination rate, and that's where the highest numbers of new cases are being reported in the state.

“There’s a lot to watch with those B-A.4 and B-A.5,” Mattingly says. “As that really takes hold, we’ll need to keep a close eye on what that’s doing to our hospitalizations and the health of Americans.”

Mattingly says there's still time to get vaccinated. She says the vaccine may not keep someone from catching COVID, but it's likely to keep the effects mild.