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COVID-19 positive cases climb to 250 in Hamilton County

New tool on state’s coronavirus dashboard offers look at percentage of positivity

Shelby Kroona, administrator of Hamilton County Public Health Hamilton County, gave a COVID-19 update at the Hamilton County Board of Supervisors meeting on Tuesday. In Hamilton County, the number of positive cases reached 250,

Kroona talked about a new tool on the state’s coronavirus dashboard that provides a look at the 14-day positivity rate. On Monday, Hamilton County’s positivity rate was 13 percent. Tuesday, the rate dropped to 9.5 percent. But that figure will likely change daily, she said.

“This is very important for schools to be able find this number and use this number in their return to learn plans,” she said. “The issue is that number changes every day because that’s a 14-day rolling positivity rate.”

There have been 2,627 individuals have been tested since March and 2,375 have had negative test results. A total of 240 individuals have recovered and there has been one death in Hamilton County associated with COVID-19.

Another feature on the state’s website shows the number of people who were tested on a particular day, how many were positive, how many were negative and the percent positive.

“On Monday, we had 10 people tested and 10 were negative,” she said. “But, we still have community spread going on.”

Kroona said her department has been encouraged to look at where outbreaks are happening. She pointed to the example of Webster County, which has a positivity rate of 23 percent.

“But the governor is saying that number is mostly due to the prison population there,” according to Kroona. “So, she doesn’t believe it’s a true reflection of community spread.”

Any number over 15 percent, according to scientific standards, does indicate widespread community spread.

“So even though we had 10 people tested and 10 were negative, that can change today or tomorrow,” according to Kroona. Area residents still need to wear masks anytime they are away from their homes or are outside of their family circle.

“It’s very important because that will slow the spread of the virus. We’re seeing less and less cooperation with masks around the state. And we’re seeing less cooperation with contact tracing,” according to Kroona.

Contract tracing is vital in finding asymptomatic people and getting them into isolation to prevent further spread.

“People may not understand that they might not get very ill, but it’s the people we spread it to,” she said. “And people have long-term chronic illnesses as a result of COVID-19. More and more research shows that.”

Kroona added that children can get the virus and even though they may have few symptoms, can spread it to others.

She said that her department should be receiving seasonal flu vaccine in September.

“We are strongly encouraging everybody to get a flu vaccine this year,” she said. The county averages 36 to 46 percent vaccination rate and Kroona said that number needs to be between 60 and 70 percent. The state has procured additional flu vaccine this year to help counties achieve a higher vaccination rate. She urged residents to get their vaccinations in September or October, but definitely before Thanksgiving when the COVID-19 second wave is expected.

The seasonal flu vaccine does not protect against COVID-19.

Kroona also said her office is working on a possible plan to deliver the seasonal flu vaccine to senior citizens who want to be vaccinated.

“We’re looking at the idea of coming to your home. Because of COVID, we don’t want you out and about,” she said, adding that the measure would take approval of the Board of Health.

“The last thing we want this year is a COVID-19 uptick and influenza at the same time,” she said. “We encourage you to get that as soon as the flu vaccine is available.”

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