COVID-19 cases up in Ohio, local health officials blame delta variant

Coronavirus

CHARDON, Ohio (WJW)– Geauga County Public Health hit a benchmark Tuesday.

“For the first time, we finally broke the 50 percent mark in Geauga County. I think being able to say the majority is vaccinated is a good thing,” said Health Commissioner Tom Quade.

Quade’s celebration was cut short Tuesday as the Ohio Department of Health reported more than 740 new COVID-19 cases in the past 24 hours. That is the biggest single-day increase in almost two months.

“So when we are at 50 percent, 50 percent of the population is protected and so we are seeing this increase,” Quade said.

“I am not surprised. It’s two weeks after the Fourth of July,” said Dyan Denmeade, director of nursing with Lake County General Health District.

According to the Lake County General Health District, another factor likely driving the numbers back up is the delta variant.

“So we’ve had delta variant since at least March,” Denmeade said. Lake County ranks second in the state in vaccinations.

“Where we are seeing our residents getting the delta variant is in the college age. College age and people in their 20s is where we are seeing it right now,” Denmeade said.

Hospitalizations because of COVID-19 were also up on Tuesday. According to the state, 61 Ohioans had to go to the hospital, which is nearly double the state’s daily average.

“We weren’t expecting it this early,” said Donna Skoda, health commissioner with Summit County Public Health.

According to Skoda, most of the people who are being admitted to local hospitals have not had a vaccination.

“We are going to do surveillance on far more of those cases. That is the only way we know if they say they are vaccinated or not. However, I can tell you that that the people we interview are far more unvaccinated,” Skoda said.

Right now, Ohio’s vaccination rate stands at 48 percent.

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