OHIO VALLEY — New mask guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released on Tuesday recommended masks indoors for all people, even those vaccinated, in areas where COVID-19 is surging — including all three counties in the Ohio Valley Publishing area.
The CDC’s online COVID Data Tracker shows high spread levels in both Gallia and Mason counties, and substantial spread in Meigs County. The CDC database has four categories — low, moderate, substantial and high —for COVID-19 spread levels.
In Gallia County, the CDC reports high spread with 117.06 cases per 100,000 population for the past seven days
Mason County is also listed as high spread with 60.34 cases per 100,000 population for the past seven days.
Meigs County is one step below, listed as substantial spread with 56.75 cases per 100,000 in last seven days.
As of Wednesday, the Ohio Department of Health reported a total of 2,511 cases in Gallia County, with 152 hospitalizations and 50 deaths. Of those, 100 cases have occurred since July 1, 2021.
In Meigs County, ODH has reported 1,515 cases, 84 hospitalizations and 40 deaths since the beginning of the pandemic. Of those, 24 cases have occurred since July 1, 2021.
In Mason County, West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources has reported a total of 2,123 cases (2,061 confirmed, 62 probable) and 37 deaths since the beginning of the pandemic. Of those, 57 cases have been reported since July 1, 2021.
While cases are rising in the area, vaccination levels are not.
According to CDC data, of Gallia County’s approximately 29,898 residents, 10,463 have received at least one dose (35 percent) and 10,173 are fully vaccinated (34 percent)
Of Meigs County’s approximately 22,907 residents, 8,101 have received at least one dose (35.4 percent) and 7,644 are fully vaccinated (33.4 percent).
Of Mason County’s approximately 26,516 residents, 7,742 have received at least one dose (29.2 percent) and 6,083 are fully vaccinated (22.9 percent).
The Associated Press reported on Tuesday that the CDC, “Citing new information about the ability of the delta variant to spread among vaccinated people the CDC also… recommended indoor masks for all teachers, staff, students and visitors to schools, regardless of vaccination status.”
Most new infections in the U.S. continue to be among unvaccinated people. But “breakthrough” infections, which generally cause milder illness, can occur in vaccinated people. When earlier strains of the virus predominated, infected vaccinated people were found to have low levels of virus and were deemed unlikely to spread the virus much, CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky said according to the AP.
A portion of the information provided by the Associated Press.
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Sarah Hawley is the managing editor of The Daily Sentinel.