COVID-19 cases, including breakthrough cases, slowly rise in Summit County
Summit County’s incidence rate has slowly but steadily climbed throughout July. Despite the rising case numbers, health officials have stressed that Summit County will not move to a more restrictive level unless hospital capacity is threatened.
Hospital occupancy — the percentage of total beds occupied at St. Anthony Summit Medical Center — is currently 29.4%. There are 34 in-patient beds at the medical center. The goal, according to Summit County Public Health, is to keep bed occupancy at 80% or lower. The highest occupancy the hospital has reached so far in July is 41.9%.
Summit County’s seven-day cumulative incidence rate reached blue levels on July 14, meaning there were over 100 new positive cases per 100,000 residents over the previous week. On Thursday, July 22, the incidence rate was 122.68.
At the Summit County Board of Health meeting Tuesday, July 20, Public Health Director Amy Wineland said the number of new cases is increasing nationally, which has led to an increase in hospitalizations and deaths. Nationwide, there has been a 26% increase in hospitalizations in the past week and a 13% increase in daily deaths, Wineland said. She noted that 97% of people who have been hospitalized are unvaccinated and 99.5% of deaths are among unvaccinated individuals.
“As we’ve known since vaccines have been available, vaccination is really our fastest, most effective way to stop this pandemic,” Wineland said.
Summit County has surpassed its 70% vaccination goal with 77% of residents fully vaccinated as of Wednesday, July 21, and 85% of residents have received at least one dose.
About 90% of COVID-19 samples being sequenced in the state are the delta variant, Wineland explained, which is a strain of the virus that was first detected in India and is thought to spread more quickly, be more contagious and possibly cause more serious illness. Scientists believe the vaccines are effective at protecting people from the variant.
“This virus is not last year’s virus, and that’s really important for everybody in our community to understand, that it’s really attacking younger adults, 40-year-olds, parents and of course our kids as well at this point, which makes sense because they are unvaccinated. They’re not eligible if they’re under 12 for the vaccine yet, and that’s a concern as we’re looking to going back to school in the fall,” Wineland said.
Approximately one-third to half of cases in the past few weeks have been breakthrough cases, which are cases of COVID-19 among fully vaccinated individuals. To-date, there have been 33 breakthrough cases, which makes up about 2.5% of total cases since mid-January.
In total, there have been 3,846 cases of COVID-19 and 297 hospitalizations in Summit County since the first case was reported in March 2020, according to the county website.
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