Vinton County got a shout-out salute from Governor Mike DeWine concerning its state-best COVID-19 ranking while both Vinton County and Jackson County continued to experience fewer new cases of the virus.

Understandably, most of the announcements from Ohio Governor Mike DeWine regarding COVID-19 have been grim ones. However, the governor had a positive shout-out concerning Vinton County in his press conference conducted Thursday afternoon, Feb. 18.

DeWine noted that Vinton County was now the only county in the state no longer considered to be a “high-incidence” county for the per capita incidence of local COVID-19 cases. In the latest report issued by the Ohio Department of Health, Vinton County had a per capita incidence of 99.4 cases per 100,000 population, which is just below the 100 cases per 100,000 population threshold to be counted as a high-incidence county for COVID-19. In fact, the governor noted Vinton County was the only county which was not currently a high-incidence county. Predictably, Vinton County currently ranks 88th among the 88 counties for the per capita incidence in the state.

In his press conference, Governor DeWine noted that Vinton County is the first county in a long time to drop below the high-incidence level. He described that as “a good piece of news.”

Meanwhile, the latest case reports from the Vinton County Health Department (VCHD) remained very positive. In the eight-day period covering Thursday, Feb. 12 through Thursday, Feb. 19, VCHD reported only a total of four new COVID-19 cases, an average of one case every two days. Also, the number of active cases in the county dropped from 15 on Feb. 12 to six on Feb. 19. Also, during the same period, the number of virus-related hospitalizations dropped from three to two. There was one new death during the period, but there have been only two deaths during all of February.

Since the first two local COVID-19 cases were reported back on April 25 in Vinton County, there has been a total of 679 confirmed cases, 82 probable cases and 15 virus-related deaths in the county.

The latest updated report on local COVID-19 cases from the Jackson County Health Department (JCHD) brought both good and bad news.

In its most recent report issued Thursday, Feb. 18, JCHD reported a total of 38 new confirmed cases for the one-week period covering Thursday, Feb. 11 through Wednesday, Feb. 17. This average of 7.4 cases per day over this period represents the lowest number JCHD has reported in recent weeks. Also, the number of active cases has fallen from 45 on Feb. 11 to 34 on Feb. 17.

Also from a relative standpoint when compared with the rest of the state, Jackson County is also doing a lot better. At one time, Jackson County had the dubious distinction of ranking first among all of Ohio’s counties for the per capita incidence of COVID-19 cases. However, the latest rankings released by the Ohio Department of Health have Jackson County ranked 51st among Ohio’s 88 counties. Jackson County currently has a per capita rate of 222.1 cases per 100,000 population. That standing is based on the county having 72 new cases in the two-week period covering Feb. 3-16.

However, the sad news was that JCHD also recorded three new COVID-19-related deaths during the past seven days, which brings the county’s overall virus death toll to 53. Also, the number of related hospitalizations increased from three to five during that same period. 

Since Jackson County’s first COVID-19 case was confirmed back on April 7, there has been a total of 2,682 confirmed cases and 170 probable cases in the county.