October 4 to October 10

Categories: Weekly Report

With 38 new cases announced by the Warren County Health Department, this week set a Warren County record for new cases of COVID-19 in a single week. On Friday, October 9, we learned of 10 new cases, the second COVID related death of the week, and the state announced that our numbers from the week prior had elevated the county (and two of our neighbors) to the orange warning level associated with increased COVID risk due to indications of substantial community spread. We can expect the warning to continue on for another week.

This Week in Warren County

Most days this week came with a report of five or more new cases. There is also a noticeable uptick in testing as the week progresses. Testing in Warren County is still focused on those showing symptoms but there has been an uptick of cases in local care facilities and the state mandate for proactive testing in these facilities might account for some of this.

The positive test rate continued to rise throughout the week. Our recovery region has been largely flat. This indicates what you’ll see in the regional graphics, we’re one of more problematic counties in the region right now.

There were two additional Covid related deaths this week. That brings our total to 5. All but one of these cases is in the 80-100 age range so continued reports of cases in this age range are troubling.

A Look at Other Bad Weeks

In the context of understanding this week’s reports, it’s worth taking a minute to see how this, the worst week, compares to other bad weeks in Warren County. Below you can see case and age demographic data for the top ten weeks in terms of new cases reported by the Warren County Health Department. A couple things that stand out to me is that seven of the ten are weeks from August, September, and now October. It becomes increasingly harder to see how what we’re experiencing now isn’t really the worst of it so far. The late April and early May outbreaks and subsequent lock down was jarring, but I worry about what this kind of spread becomes as the weather gets cold, people spend more time indoors, and when the pandemic intersects with flu season.

To give you a longer historical picture we can look at every week back to late April. This graph shows you total cases broken down by the age demographics reported by the health department. You get a good sense of the shape of things thus far: a peak in April/May followed by a summer low point and an overall upward trend sense late July. We also see the rise of youth cases (under 20 years old) and cases in the 80-100 range start at around the same time.

Regional Comparisons

In terms of new cases per day, the region has been relatively flat compared to the county. If you factor in a general pattern of fewer reported cases at the start of the week, then you see the same overall week-to-week shape in case counts with some slight increase from one week to the next.

To compare one county to the next we use cases per 100,000 people. More than 50 cases in a week is a sign of some community spread. Values above 100 get to be very problematic. Here we can see Warren and Know counties stand out. Both were put on warning due to their numbers last week, so a second week of warning seems likely.