NEW CARLISLE, Ohio (WDTN) – Ohio Governor Mike DeWine toured a vaccination site in Clark County Friday, a county that has the highest COVID-19 incident rate in the state.
Clark County topped the list Thursday when DeWine unveiled the latest data of COVID-19 cases in Ohio. DeWine will visit a vaccination clinic in New Carlisle as well as a site in Lima and a third in Ada.
Friday, DeWine said in a news conference after his tour “Clark County is doing everything right,” DeWine continued, “They are having clinics like you’re seeing right here today where they go into people’s homes, literally.”
Nearly 31 percent of people who live in Clark County have received at least one dose of the vaccine, which is slightly ahead of the progress made statewide, according to data from the Ohio Department of Health.
The biggest surge in COVID cases is in the county’s 45506 zip code, which includes the southwest quadrant of Springfield, according to Charles Patterson, Clark County health commissioner.
“We have a couple small daycare outbreaks in that area,” he said. “We also know that we have some family clusters.”
The spike has most impacted minority communities, he added.
“When we look deeper into those numbers, it shows that our African-American population has been disproportionately affected by this surge,” Patterson said.
The vast majority of people in Clark County who have tested positive for the virus over the past two weeks had not been vaccinated, Patterson said. A few of them did receive the vaccine, but none of those cases went beyond mild symptoms, he added.
With a large percentage of seniors vaccinated, the recent COVID surge brings greater urgency to immunize other age groups, Patterson said.
“We’re at 70 percent plus for some of our older populations,” Patterson said. “We now see that our cases are younger. So it’s proving to us that the vaccine works.”
Ohio’s COVID-19 Dashboard shows cases in the state increased by 13% with 167 cases per 100,000 people. The Ohio Department of Health said the state’s increase in cases is largely due to variants, especially the UK mutation found in Michigan. That variant jumped in cases from 92 on March 12 to 620 Thursday.
“Where the public can help is if you’re having hesitancy about the getting the vaccine, talk to your doctor,” DeWine said.
Dr. Joseph Allen, Premier Health Regional Medical Director said, “Folks have got a little lax in with some of their masks and social distancing and travel and all the things we were doing a very good job of the last year, we’re starting to push the boundaries on that a little bit.”
Watch Gov. DeWine’s full comments from the Clark County vaccination site here
Doctors say getting the vaccine will be the best defense against COVID-19 and its variants.
DeWine also said Thursday state is adding 11 standing vaccination sites that will be open to anyone 16 and older. Many of the available doses will be the single-shot option from Johnson & Johnson.
Locations include the Dayton Convention Center, which will receive 5,000 doses a week.
Other locations will be in Akron, Chillicothe, Cincinnati, Columbus, Lima, Marietta, Maumee, Wilmington, Youngstown and Zanesville. There will be four mobile clinics that will travel various regions. Scheduling a vaccination at one of these sites can be done through the state’s online portal.
DeWine acknowledged that the state’s plateau in cases has become an increase in positivity rate. Ohio’s Zone 1. including the northern portion of the state, has seen the largest increase.