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Cases continue to climb as county begins vaccinating those 80 and older

LISBON — While those 80 and older are about to begin the process to be vaccinated for COVID-19, more than 55 Columbiana County residents continue to be diagnosed with the virus each day and there have been two deaths over the past week.

According to county health department public information officer Laura Fauss, the county has confirmed the coronavirus-related deaths of an 88-year-old woman and an 83-year-old man, both members of the general community. There have been 47 members of the general community whose deaths have been attributed to the coronavirus with 71 residents of long-term care facilities and nine inmates from the federal Elkton prison.

There have been 396 new positive cases since Jan. 8, which is an average of 56.6 cases per day. There have been 6,978 total cases since the first case was reported in Columbiana County on March 20.

Of those, 127 have died, while 6,057 have recovered. Fauss reports there are 667 active cases, which is an increase from the 641 active cases last week and the 663 active cases the week before.

Columbiana County remains level three, red, with a high incidence of cases on the Ohio Public Health Advisory map.

Many of the local schools are preparing to go back into session next week, after most took extended breaks for the holiday season with the hopes of curbing the virus spread, although East Liverpool announced Wednesday and Southern on Friday that they would wait another week.

With the elderly often the most susceptible to having more serious symptoms and complications, the local health departments, hospitals, pharmacies and community clinics are set to begin vaccinating those 80 years old and older in the general community next week. The doses are limited and some locations are already reporting they have no more appointments available for the first week. A list of the sites appears on Page A5.

The drive-up clinic at the Columbiana County Vaccination Complex at the county fairgrounds in Lisbon will not require preregistration and will be held from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., Jan. 22.

During a press conference on Thursday, Health Commissioner Wes Vins had noted the county is ready to begin vaccinations, but the numbers of how many can be vaccinated is dependent on how many vaccines are received. Vins predicted there would be between 2,000 and 3,000 for the entirety of Columbiana County next week. Vins said the hope is for another shipment of a similar size the following week. He predicted it may take two weeks to give the first dose of the vaccine to everyone in the 80-year-old and older age group, before the county will be ready to move the marker a few years younger.

The county is receiving both Moderna and Pfizer vaccines. According to the Ohio Department of Health website, 2,685 have received their first dose of one of the vaccines in Columbiana County. That amounts to 2.64 percent of the population. Women receiving the vaccine have outnumbered men — 1,811 to 622 — with the gender of another 252 unknown by those keeping the statistics.

djohnson@mojonews.com

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