HARRISON COUNTY—Another week brings another rise in COVID cases. Harrison County health administrator Garen Rhome reported 34 new cases since last week — seven more than the 27 reported last week that accrued. Total cases in the county now tally 1,286, with active cases rising to 48; the presumed recovered is now at 1,214. 

Another tidbit Rhome offered was that out of 137 total cases, 14 were in the pediatric category (17 and under), but interestingly, what affected the older crowd is not the case now as only 24 of the 137 positives were of people 65 and older. Rhome said it’s because 75% of that demographic has been vaccinated. But Rhome and the health community do not feel that COVID is something society will have to live with, as it’s been suggested. With enough people getting vaccinated and taking proper precautions, the health community feels COVID will be eradicated.

What Rhome felt hurt that cause was Senate Bill 22, which passed earlier this summer, overriding Governor Mike DeWine’s ability to mandate mask-wearing and other restrictions. Rhome called the move an “incredibly serious blow to public health.” He added that the move by Ohio’s general assembly would impact the state’s public health for a very long time.

Rhome again emphasized the need for universal masking for grades K-12 but called it a “tough situation,” where the schools are attempting a balancing act between health administrators and angry parents who feel their rights are being taken away. But Rhome said the relationship with the Harrison Hills City School District has been good, and he thanked them for their support. He said mask-wearing will help keep kids in school and keep them healthy, as well. 

An astounding figure Rhome quoted mentioned that Harrison County now sits at 253 cases per 100,000, which is one-and-a-half times greater than the CDC’s benchmark for “high transmission.” Rhome also stated that 50 cases are considered substantial, making Harrison County five times more virulent. 

“Transmission in the community is so rapid. It’s really hitting people hard and faster, making them sicker,” Rhome explained. And certain areas of the country are beginning to push vaccinations harder as the U.S. Department of Defense has mandated all service members to receive vaccinations, according to Tricare Newsroom. 

Pennsylvania leads in death ratio numbers for the three area states with 2.1% (1.3 million cases vs. 28,235 deaths). Ohio follows with 1.7% (1.22 million cases and 20,866 deaths), and West Virginia is not far behind at 1.6% (190,000 cases and 3,084 deaths). For the U.S., 39.3 million cases have been recorded, with 640,000 deaths. In world figures, 218 million people have been infected, leading to 4.53 million deaths.