OTTAWA COUNTY, Ohio — As COVID-19 case counts around Ohio begin to drop and most people look forward to relaxed public-health restrictions and less coronavirus risk, all but two of northwest Ohio's counties still have "high transmission" of the virus, according the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Only Ottawa County and Sandusky County have the less serious "substantial transmission" of the virus, according to the CDC.
The agency categorizes counties nationwide with a four-tiered designation -- low transmission, moderate transmission, substantial transmission and high transmission -- based on the number of cases and the positivity rates of COVID-19 tests.
Both high transmission and substantial transmission designations call for people to continue wearing masks and taking precautions against the virus.
In Ottawa County, Health Commissioner Jerry Bingham credits an effective vaccination effort with his county's relatively better transmission status.
"We had a very effective vaccination campaign when this all started," Bingham said. "In fact, we're still leading northwest Ohio as far as percentage of people with the first dose."
Bingham said good volunteers and good partnerships with community groups have made the success possible. Nearly 64% of residents have received at least one dose, while just under 60% are fully vaccinated.
Looking at case numbers in Ottawa County, Bingham said the county is averaging about five cases per day right now.
"It's interesting because Jan. 14, we had 138 cases reported in one day, which was the highest we've seen throughout this whole pandemic. Then a month later on Feb. 14, we had three reported."
He explained the significant drop is likely due to the high vaccination rates and people continuing to wear face masks, even though masking is not mandated.
Another significant factor, Bingham said, is that many people have already had the virus and therefore have some immunity against getting sick again.
"I just would like people to realize if they do all the right things, hopefully we won't have to do some of these things - other restrictions and mandates in the future - and hopefully we can keep these case numbers down," he said.
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