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Is COVID surge slowing?

After weeks of considerable jumps in new COVID-19 cases, there was a slightly smaller increase last week.

Monroe County only had 60 new confirmed COVID-19 cases from Tuesday, Jan. 12 to Tuesday, Jan. 19.

In contrast, there were 153 new cases from Jan. 5-12 and 111 new cases from Dec. 29 to Jan. 5.

Active cases have decreased. As of Tuesday, Jan. 19, there are 115 active cases, down from 142 on Tuesday, Jan. 12.

Unfortunately, there were three new deaths reported Tuesday, Jan. 19, giving the county 28 deaths as a result of COVID-19.

Monroe County remains one of only four counties in the state at Level 2 (orange) in the Ohio Public Health Advisory System.

All of Ohio’s other 88 counties are at Level 3 (red), except for Hamilton County, which is at Level 4 (purple).

Every neighboring county to Monroe County is at Level 3.

The Monroe County Health Department hopes case numbers stabilize as it continues to offer vaccinations in the next few weeks.

Vaccinations will be available for different age groups over the next few weeks.

This week, Jan. 18-22, vaccinations will be available for those over the age of 80.

A drive-thru clinic will be held starting at 1 p.m. Friday, Jan. 22, at the Monroe County Fairgrounds. It is for those in Phase 1A, including healthcare workers and personnel routinely involved in the care of COVID-19 patients and EMS workers, and Phase 1B, county residents 80 and older.

Traffic will be permitted to line up starting at 11 a.m. Traffic will enter at the main entrance on State Route 26.

Numbered tickets will be allotted for the number of vaccines available.

In the following weeks, the Health Department hopes to hold more vaccine clinics, tentatively planned for the next few weeks.

Vaccines will potentially be made available for residents age 75 and older and those with severe congenital or developmental disorders the week of Jan. 25.

The following week the week of Feb. 1, will include residents 70 and older and employees of K-12 schools who wish to remain or return to in-person or hybrid teaching.

The week of Feb. 8 will include residents 65 and older.

In a press release, the Monroe County Health Department stressed it will take more than one week to provide vaccinations for all the county residents in each age group.

“When a new age group begins, vaccinations may not be complete for the previous age group,” the press release reads. “It will take a number of weeks to distribute all the vaccines given the limited doses available.

“Vaccine supply is limited,” the press release continues, “but more vaccines will be available each week.”

Information will be provided on the Monroe County Health Department’s website and Facebook page. The Health Department will also use the Monroe County alert notification all-call system to announce upcoming clinics.

To opt-in for the system, visit https://member.everbridge.net/index/453003085616003#/signup.Alerts can be received by phone, text or email.