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By Sydney Dawes

Athens NEWS Editor

A new Ohio Department of Health dashboard that breaks down vaccine information by county was recently unveiled. The dataset as of Dec. 21 reports that 42 people in Athens County have received their first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine.

It breaks down vaccine recipients by age bracket, sex, race and ethnicity. A majority of vaccine recipients in Athens County fell in the 30-39 and 40-49 age brackets, followed closely by those in the 50-49 and 60-59 age brackets.

Statewide, nearly 8,500 people as of Tuesday have received a dose of the vaccine.

Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine announced earlier this month that the state is expected to receive more than 650,000 doses of the Pfizer and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines in December.

DeWine also then noted that two doses will be necessary for these vaccines, and he highlighted the demographic that will fall in the first phase of vaccine distribution: healthcare workers and personnel who are involved in the care of COVID-19 patients; EMS responders; and vulnerable individuals who live together in close proximity and those who care for them.

As of Tuesday afternoon, there are 2,863 total known cases of COVID-19 in Athens County: 552 are active, and 2,305 are recovered, according to the Athens City-County Health Department.

Six total deaths are associated with the virus in Athens County, with two of the total fatalities being reported this week. One was a female aged 80 or older and a male age 70-79. The date of death listed for the female fatality is Nov. 20; the date of death for the male fatality is listed as “unknown” in Ohio Department of Health’s summary data, but the male is listed as having a hospital admission date of Nov. 17. Previously reported were three fatalities among men in the 60-69 age bracket, and one death of a woman in the 70-79 age bracket was also reported.

Young people ages 0-19 and 20-29 make up the vast majority of confirmed and probable cases in Athens County. Other age groups have experienced growth in cases as health leaders previously reported that the county has experienced community spread that cannot be linked back to OU students.

Athens County was again classified last week as a Level 3 or “red” county in the Ohio Public Health Advisory system.

DeWine in July unveiled the Ohio Public Health Advisory Alert System, the warning system that measures the severity of the virus in Ohio’s counties by several case indicators: new cases per capita, sustained increase in new cases, proportion of cases that are not congregate cases, sustained increase in emergency room visits, sustained increase in outpatient visits, sustained increase in new COVID-19 hospital admissions and intensive care unit (ICU) bed occupancy.

Athens County has triggered three of the seven indicators under the alert system: new cases per capita, proportion of cases that are not congregate cases and outpatient visits.

The county had 327 new cases reported over the past two weeks, the system reported. Between Dec. 9 and Dec. 15, the county had a non-congregate percentage of cases of 65.79 percent. Also as of Dec. 15, outpatient visits in the county had a seven-day average of 22.71.

Level 1 counties have “active exposure and spread,” while Level 2 counties have “increased exposure and spread,” according to ODH. One county in Ohio is classified as Level 4, the most severe public health advisory: Richland County.

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