virus rate

The current surge in Covid cases in Jackson County may have peaked, but the numbers continue to remain extraordinary high with both cases and deaths.

State data indicates that over the past week, the trend of new cases has gone way down. On Jan. 11, the 7-day trend line reported over 100 cases per day on average, an all-time high for the county. This week, that had fallen to just 55 cases on average per day, a significant drop in the trend.

Still, over the past two weeks, 910 people tested positive for the virus, a rate of 1,218 per 100,000, one of the highest in the state.

That's also one of the highest rates in the nation over the last two weeks. According to one study, the Jefferson "micro-area," which is essentially all of Jackson County, ranked third in the nation for the rate of the virus for all metropolitan and micropolitan areas. That rate was 121.8 per 100,000 over a two-week period that ended Jan. 25.

The percentage of testing that is positive has also declined sharply over the last three weeks. On Jan.5, the positivity rate hit 35% over a week's average; that has dropped to 18.7% at the end of last week.

Despite that good news, deaths are on the rise, a pattern that typically lags the case count rates.

This week, the county had notched 87 confirmed deaths due to Covid with 10 other suspected deaths from the virus.

The rise in deaths has been dramatic in January with over 23 reported deaths to date. That is by far the highest count in a single month since the pandemic began in March 2020.

VACCINE

Meanwhile, the rollout of the Covid vaccine remains sluggish. The vaccine is available by appointment through the Jackson County Health Department in Jefferson and Commerce and is also available on a limited basis through several area pharmacies and medical centers.

But state reports indicate that supply of the vaccine remains low and has not been as robust as some had hoped.

For now, only medical workers, first responders and those over age 65 (along with caregivers) qualify for the vaccine.

Some distribution agencies report that they have been swamped with calls and appointments that far exceed the supply of the vaccine.

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