Pop up test

A health professional administers a COVID-19 test during the pop-up test event held in December at the Williams County Fairgrounds. The county health department is staging another similar test event this Saturday.

The number of COVID-19 cases remains high in Williams County. In the recent seven-day period from Jan. 12-19, there were 112 new cases, 12 hospitalizations and nine deaths.

Those numbers bring the county’s totals to 2,728 confirmed and presumed cases, 143 hospitalizations and 66 deaths — including 55 deaths since Dec. 1. The county health department also is reporting 2,204 cases that are presumed recovered.

As of Jan. 14, Williams County remains at Level 3/Red on the Ohio Public Health Advisory System (OPHAS). The county has triggered three of the seven OPHAS indicators (they are: new cases per capita, new case increase and non-congregate cases) and the county is considered to be at “high incidence.”

POP UP TEST

The county health department announced Wednesday it has scheduled a free COVID-19 testing event in partnership with the Ohio National Guard. It’s a so-called “pop-up” COVID-19 testing site at the fairgrounds similar to one staged in early December.

The free testing is from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday, Jan. 23, at the Gillette Building, on the Williams County Fairgrounds, 619 Main St., Montpelier.

In a community informational talking points advisory issued Wednesday, Victoria Smith, director of health education and Preparedness for the Williams County Health Department, advised everyone to get tested.

“Testing is important to reduce the spread of COVID-19 in our community,” Smith said.

Preregistering is available and saves time at the first station at the event, but preregistration is not required. To preregister, visit: https://bit.ly/COVIDTestWC.

VACCINES

Also, the WCHD is now scheduling vaccination appointments for people who are 75 years or older in Williams County. Call the COVID-19 Vaccine Call Center to make an appointment at 866-395-1588. Find information about vaccine eligibility on the WCHD website, at www.williamscountyhealth.org/health-education/covid-19-coronavirus/.

Smith notes that COVID-19 can have serious, life-threatening complications and there is no way to know how COVID-19 will affect you. If you get sick, you could spread the disease to friends, family and others around you.

“All COVID-19 vaccines currently available in the United States have been shown to be highly effective at preventing people from getting COVID-19. The vaccine offers a safer way to build protection against the virus,” Smith said, adding these vaccines cannot give you the disease.

For now, health experts say getting COVID-19 may offer some natural protection, known as immunity, but it’s still not known how long this protection lasts. The risk of severe illness and death from COVID-19 far outweighs any benefits of natural immunity.

Smith said wearing masks and social distancing help reduce the chances of being exposed to the virus or spreading it to others, but these measures are not enough. Vaccines will work with your immune system so it will be ready to fight the virus if you are exposed.

The combination of getting vaccinated and following state and federal recommendations to protect yourself and others offers the best protection from COVID-19.

“Stopping a pandemic requires using all the tools we have available,” Smith said.

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