Montgomery County, Ohio – The coronavirus continues to spread rapidly amongst our counties here in Ohio. All 88 counties currently exceed the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s high-incidence threshold, meaning each county has had more than 100 cases per 100,000 residents for two weeks.
Over the past month from September to October, Montgomery County has seen a concerning trend. Coronavirus tests are coming back positive at 8.8%, which is higher than the state’s all-time positivity rate of 7%.
Health Commissioner Jeff Cooper said what he is seeing is worrisome.
“That test positivity value has increased significantly. We were hovering around 4% positivity,” Cooper said. “We’re now close to 9% test positivity.”
Cooper said these rates are soaring across the region.
“If you look at our entire West-Central planning region, all eight counties, Champaign, Clark, Darke, Greene, Miami, Montgomery, Preble, and Shelby counties. That test positivity ranges from a low of almost 6% to up to almost 20%.
Cooper said the driving force behind this rise is people attending private social event gatherings and not following the CDC’s pandemic guidelines.
So leaders in Montgomery County are urging residents to take a step back, and take this virus seriously.
“Really especially as we get into these winter months we are asking everyone to consider not going to friends houses — to stay within what I call your COVID-pod,” Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley said. “To wear your mask when you’re in a room with anybody you’re not living with. To make sure that you do your part to pass up on these social events. I know it’s difficult because we’re getting into the holidays — it’s going to be hard. But we need to do our very best because we’re trying to save the lives of ourselves and others.”
Currently, the area’s health systems are not in jeopardy of being overwhelmed, but President and CEO of the Greater Dayton Area Hospital Association Sarah Hackenbracht said that could change if trends continue.
“Hospitals have now treated double the number of COVID-19 patients in just the last month,” Hackenbracht said. “We are now seeing that corresponding increase of patients who need to be treated in the intensive care unit and some who even require ventilator use. The trend that we have seen in the last month is disturbing.”
Experts worry people are letting their guards down to the virus, not wearing masks and not social distancing. With flu season upon us, now is the time to get serious about this problem before it’s too late.
“I mean let’s face it, it’s about us as individuals, as human beings that care about each other, making personal sacrifices to protect each other and the ones we love,” Cooper said. “And if the worst thing that ever happens to us as an individual is that we have to wear a mask — I mean think about that — life’s pretty darn good.”
The group of leaders in the Miami Valley is advising residents to reconsider large family gatherings, such as the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday — suggesting limiting it to small gatherings. Ultimately, the best way to get back on track is to follow the guidelines we have been hearing for months.
“We can access and analyze all the data we want all day long, but it really doesn’t change what we need to do as individuals,” Cooper said. “So, let’s adhere to those foundational tenants that we’ve learned from day one of this pandemic and let’s do this together. We can limit the spread, we can minimize the spread of this virus by working together.”