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Ohio health officials suggest taking COVID-19 test as precaution ahead of holiday gatherings

As of last Thursday, one in seven patients in Ohio hospitals had COVID-19.

COLUMBUS, Ohio — Health officials urged Ohioans to get vaccinated against COVID-19 during a briefing on Tuesday, citing the approaching holidays and flu season. 

In the past month, COVID-19 hospitalizations have increased by 23%, with ICU admissions increasing by 15%. Health officials reported an additional 4,370 cases of COVID-19 in a 24-hour span on Monday. 

Currently, northwest Ohio represents the state's highest region for COVID-19 spread, with more than 742 cases reported per 100,000 residents. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, anything above 100 cases is considered a high rate of transmission. 

In Wood County, which is located in northwest Ohio, Health Commissioner Benjamin Robison says two out of three residents are fully vaccinated against COVID-19. In total, nearly 60% of all Wood County residents have began the vaccination process.   

"While there is definitely a benefit seen in reducing the risk of infection, the greater benefit is seen, really, in the protection against disease," said Robison. "Even when some of these individuals do identify as cases from week-to-week, what we're finding is that they're not often ending up in the hospital."   

Department of Health Director Dr. Bruce Vanderhoff says data show lower case rate is directly correlated to higher vaccination rate in all of Ohio's counties.  

"So, as we look forward to the coming holiday season -- as well as cold and flu season -- please, if you aren't yet vaccinated, choose to get the vaccine," said Vanderhoff, adding those who are eligible to get a booster should also make an appointment. 

Thomas Herchline, professor of medicine with Boonshoft School of Medicine, says anyone who can get vaccinated should in order to keep the community, as a whole, safe. That includes making sure children who are eligible get the vaccine as well.

Before visiting family, health officials suggest taking a rapid at-home COVID-19 test as a precaution and to help limit virus spread. To find a list of locations, click here

You can watch Tuesday’s briefing in the player below: 

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COVID-19 in Ohio: Recent Coverage ⬇️