DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) – Despite words from President Biden that the pandemic is over, health leaders in the Miami Valley said it does not mean a departure from protecting ourselves against COVID-19.

COVID-19 cases in the Miami Valley have declined since the most recent peak, and most counties are in medium to low community transmission risk per the CDC.

Public Health — Dayton & Montgomery County Public Information Manager Dan Suffoletto said a change in name will not change our COVID-19 response.

“Whether it’s called a pandemic or not, the recommendation to get a vaccine is still going to be there,” Suffoletto said. “If you’re sick from COVID-19, you’re still going to need to isolate whether it’s a pandemic or not. Unfortunately, there are still about 400 people a day dying in the United States. That that’s still happening whether it’s called a pandemic or not.”

The White House later clarified that the President’s statement is based on public sentiment, and not meant to minimize the hundreds dying each day from the virus.

Mercer County Health District Health Commissioner Jason Menchhofer said that public sentiment is reflected by the people in his community.

“I think here locally we, we feel like the pandemic’s pretty well over,” Menchhofer said. “You know, there’s very few people in the area here wearing masks or taking extra precautions that are visible like that.”

Miami Valley Hospital Chief Medical Officer Dr. Roberto Colon said the president’s words signal a switch in phases from COVID-19 being a new disease to one that we’re learning to live with.

“I would caution people to taking that too lightly and and kind of getting the sense that things are done,” Colon said. “We don’t have to worry about COVID anymore because that is not it at all.”

Health officials said getting the COVID-19 vaccine and staying updated on boosters is still the best way for us to move past the pandemic.