Vaccine booster available for immunocompromised beginning Tuesday
Logan County Health District officials reported at their board of health meeting this week that local cases of COVID-19 are increasing following a recent slowdown in cases felt during the earlier summer months, and that state-level testing has confirmed that the delta variant is present in the community.
Nursing Director Kelly Reaver said in the days prior to several area school districts heading back to classes this week, there was a spike in cases, with 30 new cases reported Monday and 28 new cases reported Tuesday. Rolling seven-day case counts for those days were 103 total COVID-19 cases Monday and 118 total cases Tuesday.
In light of the recent trend in cases, Logan County Health Commissioner Dr. Boyd Hoddinott issued a recommendation Monday for school staff, students and other community members to wear masks indoors and to stay home when they are ill. Area school officials noted that it is not a mask mandate, but a personal choice.
Reaver also related that approximately four to six weeks ago, the state-level testing confirmed the first cases of the delta variant in Logan County. Since then, she said the assumption is that the increased spread is related to this more contagious form of the virus.
Among the new cases of COVID-19, the nursing director said all ages have been affected, including children and even patients under 1 year old. However, she related that fortunately, there have not been any hospitalizations of children for COVID-19 in the county thus far.
Dr. Hoddinott said among vaccinated individuals, they are starting to see some breakthrough cases of COVID-19 in elderly individuals. He is now recommending that immunocompromised individuals receive a COVID-19 booster vaccine.
Beginning Tuesday, Reaver said booster vaccines for Moderna or Pfizer will be available at the health district, 310 S. Main St., for individuals self-reporting that they are immunocompromised.
Walk-in COVID-19 vaccination clinics are conducted from 9 a.m. to noon and 1 to 3 p.m. Tuesdays at the health district.
Those age 12-17 can also receive a vaccine, but must have a parent or guardian present at the time of COVID-19 vaccination and are only eligible to receive the Pfizer vaccine.
Individuals who are homebound may call (937) 651-6244 to arrange in-home vaccinations.
The health district’s statistics also show that from July 19 to Aug. 17, there were a total of 220 cases of COVID-19, including 121 confirmed cases and 99 probable cases. The increase in cases was observed more recently in the last two to three weeks.
Also during the meeting, Arie Pequignot, environmental health specialist-in-training, conducted a board education report focusing on air quality, especially as it relates to public health and reducing the spread of COVID-19.
Dr. Hoddinott has stressed that, “COVID is a disease of crowded indoors with poor air exchange and no masks.”
Over the past year, Pequignot and his fellow environmental health staff have conducted readings with CO2 meters and particulate meters in all of the school buildings in the county to assist with air quality improvement efforts.
They also have visited churches, businesses, day cares, senior care facilities, doctor’s offices and dentist’s offices to check air quality with a CO2 meter and a particulate meter.
“When looking at air exchanges, we want at least six per hour for bringing in outside air,” Pequignot said. “If we have a higher the CO2 level, that means we’re not getting enough fresh air into a building. Readings of below 1,000 are good, and below 800 are really good for CO2.
From the readings, the LCHD staff have assisted local school officials and others to develop plans to improve air quality, including one of the easiest ways, by simply opening windows and doors periodically throughout the day.
“One of the most cost-efficient ways of improving air quality is to ‘freshen’ a room by ‘shocking it’ with outdoor air, by opening doors and windows,” Pequignot said. “For churches, there might be the chance to do this between services, or in the schools, maybe while students are at lunch or recess.
“This can be done periodically on colder days when it’s not practical to leave windows open all day.”
In addition, the presenter said a number of the schools have made adjustments to their HVAC systems to adjust ventilation sequences and provide air filtration and purification improvements.
Ionization units also have been installed at some of the school buildings, which provides proactive defense against viruses, mold, odors and other airborne pathogens in the breathing space, rather than relying on the pathogens to be carried through the room and into the ducting system.
The health commissioner said the indoor air quality improvement program was a huge success that benefited students and staff in the last school year.
“We really didn’t see any troublesome outbreaks coming from the schools,” he said.
“We’re very proud of this effort and the cooperation of all of these individuals that made is possible.”
The next meeting is 1 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 8.