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'Unfortunately, we're talking about it again' | Health department updates community on COVID-19 in Lucas County

The health department wants the community to know that we should just be cautious and take a COVID-19 test if we start to feel sick.

TOLEDO, Ohio — The Toledo-Lucas County Health Department gave an update today on where the virus is now in the county and what people should know.

"Unfortunately we're all talking about it again. I think we all thought that maybe this would be in our rearview mirror," health commissioner Eric Zgodzinski said.

The "it" is COVID-19.

COVID cases in the county have been increasing over last the couple of weeks.

But, the health department wants the community to know that we should just be cautious and take a COVID test if we start to feel sick.

At the end of May, Lucas County was designated high incidence, or "red," by the CDC.

This means COVID transmission is high and the number of people in hospitals is increasing.

"We're going to have to live with COVID. I think we've seen the worst of it in the last several months or years," Zgodzinski said. "I think now we're going to have to deal with it as it comes at us in these waves that we're experiencing right now."

The health commissioner says there is good news: the symptoms of COVID are not as severe as they were in the previous two years.

Health officials at ProMedica say it helps that we understand the virus better now.

"We know a lot more. We know how to manage patients once they do get sick with COVID with the tools and the medications that we have. We have an incredibly helpful and preventable strategy with the vaccine for COVID," ProMedica's vice president of quality and patient safety, Dr. Brian Kaminski, said. 

But because Lucas County is in the high transmission category, health officials say we should still take the steps to be as safe as we can when new waves of the virus hit.

"We've been through a couple of these. We need to make sure that we understand that we're probably going to go through several more in the future," Zgodzinski said. "As these do pop up, we've just got to take the precautions that we need to make sure that we limit the spread as much as possible."

Kaminski says even though cases are increasing, we should continue living our lives.

"I think that's what many people do. They get past that fear, right or wrong, and they move on with their lives and we're certainly reaching that point," Kaminski said.

If you're starting to feel sick, even if the symptoms are mild, health officials say we should still take a COVID test. 

This is because the new strain of the virus does not seem to be as severe for the majority of people.

The health commissioner is also urging people to be cautious now that schools are out, the weather is warm and people will be gathering.

"I would hope as we come out of school and spend more time outdoors we definitely see a decrease in cases," Zgodzinski said. "But again, what we've seen in the last couple of years, it doesn't hold quite true. We've seen spikes in the summer or towards the end of summer."

He says we also have ways to catch the virus and limit the symptoms; by both having the ability to get a COVID test and take it at home, as well as getting the vaccine.

If you haven't gotten your vaccine yet, you can do that Monday through Friday at the health department. The hours are from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.

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