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COVID-19 cases rapidly rising in Valley

With vaccination rates still below 50 percent in the Mahoning Valley, the Trumbull County Combined Health District is calling on the unvaccinated to take the shot as trends offer evidence new infections are increasing.

All three counties in the Mahoning Valley saw an increase Thursday in new cases slightly greater than the new cases reported the day before, according to Ohio Department of Health data.

Mahoning and Columbiana counties each reported nine new COVID-19 cases Thursday, higher than the eight new cases in Mahoning and six new cases in Columbiana reported Wednesday.

In Trumbull County, where the combined health district issued a warning Thursday about the delta variant of the virus, new reported cases more than doubled from five on Wednesday to 11 Thursday.

“Please be advised that the delta variant is becoming more prevalent throughout the United States, including Ohio. The delta variant should be concerning for all individuals as it is more contagious than previous variants of the COVID-19 virus. It takes less of the delta variant to spread from the mouth/nose of an infected person to another, non-infected person. It is a serious threat to those who are unvaccinated and Trumbull County’s vaccination rate still remains under 45 percent,” a news release from the health district states.

The vaccination rate in Trumbull County is at 44.93 percent. It is 47.24 percent in Mahoning County and just 38.02 percent in Columbiana County.

The state also added more new cases Thursday than it did on Wednesday, with 822 new cases Thursday to Wednesday’s 785 new cases. A week ago, the state added just 547 new cases in a day.

At the beginning of the month on July 1, Trumbull and Columbiana counties saw only a single case. And, weekly increases in each county of new cases sat below 30, while each county Thursday added 100 or more new cases in a week.

“Trumbull County is starting to see an increase in daily COVID-19 case counts. The total number of cases over the last two days equaled our previous seven-day case county of 18 cases. The bulk of these cases are occurring in the community and not congregate care settings,” the news release states.

Vaccination is the best protection from the virus and its variants, especially before winter drives more activities inside, the health district reports.

“While there are potential side effects from vaccination — just like there are for any antibiotic or other medication — those risks are small, indeed, compared to the risks of COVID-19 for people of any age. Remember, it takes up to two weeks to be fully protected against COVID-19 after the second dose of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine or the single dose of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. Therefore, it is important to get vaccinated now to protect yourself as the Delta variant continues to spread and we get closer to returning to indoor environments,” the news release states.

The health district continues to provide all three vaccines through its clinic in the Eastwood Mall across from Auntie Anne’s. Clinics are every Tuesday and Thursday from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. and the first and third Saturdays in August from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m.

Those receiving the shot for the first time are eligible for a $25 gift card to the mall.

And, the Warren City Health District will offer the Moderna vaccine in clinics from 9 to 11 a.m. and 1 to 3 p.m. on Aug. 11, 18 and 25 on the third floor of 258 E. Market St.

In a back-to-school event from noon to 5 p.m. on Aug. 22, the city will offer the vaccine at Perkins Park.

“We are also encouraging those who are not yet vaccinated to continue wearing a mask, practice good hand hygiene and social distanceas much as possible,” the news release states.

Mahoning County Public Health is scheduling appointments for vaccinations at its office, where walk-ins are also welcomed, according to the website. The address is 50 Westchester Drive, Austintown, Ohio 44515. More information is available online at www.mahoninghealth.org.

MCPH is also hosting two Johnson & Johnson clinics 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. July 29, and 8:30 a.m. to noon and 1 to 3:30 p.m. Aug. 5.

MCPH’s Moderna clinics are 8:30 to 11:30 a.m. Aug. 12, 19 and 26.

rfox@vindy.com

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