Ohio ranks low in COVID-19 safety

COLUMBUS — The finance web site WalletHub put Ohio far behind nearly every other state in its survey of “Safest States During COVID.”

The ranking is based on a list of metrics that include coronavirus vaccinations, case numbers, deaths, and hospitalizations.

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They put Ohio at 47, ahead of only Montana, Wyoming, West Virginia, and Idaho. Every other state and the District of Columbia fared better, much to the surprise of some local public health agencies.

“To be honest, I was a little shocked by what it was saying for some of the metrics they looked at,” said Erik Balser, Health Commissioner of Preble County.

He said the numbers don’t tell the whole story of efforts to keep people safe in the Miami Valley and across the state. He pointed to the ready availability of the vaccine and efforts by hospitals to handle the flow of cases.

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While Ohio’s rate for fully vaccinated people has reached 51 percent, Preble County remains below that.

“We’re right around 38, 39 percent and we would like to see a jump in those numbers, closer to the state average. but overall, our numbers match the current trends in the state.

Public health agencies are seeing a decline in cases that peaked two weeks ago when the Delta variant hit Ohio hard. 

The year has been filled with peaks and valleys since the beginning and now is on the back side of a peak in cases.

“Our case rate is less than half of what it was at its worst back in November and going into December of 2020,” said Jason Menchhofer, Administrator of Mercer County Public Health.

He and other public health managers are now preparing for the green light from the US Food and Drug Administration to begin delivering the vaccine to children aged 5 to 11. It could come in several weeks.