3 of 4 Adams County residents unvaccinated as COVID cases explode

Health officials don’t expect vaccinations to pick up.
New mask recommendation in Adams County after low vax rate numbers
Published: Jul. 29, 2021 at 6:38 PM EDT
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MANCHESTER, Ohio (WXIX) - The COVID-19 situation in Adams County is becoming serious.

Vaccination rates in Ohio’s Appalachian counties are low across the board, but Adams County has the state’s second-lowest.

It also has the dire distinction of being home to Ohio’s most new COVID-19 cases per capita.

ODH data released Thursday show 152 new infections per 100,000 residents. That represents a 600 percent increase in the last two weeks.

Now Dr. William Hablitzel, Adams County Health Commissioner, is issuing new recommendations for mask-wearing.

“Our recommendation now, and that’s changed this week, going by CDC guidance, is that everyone indoors in public should wear a mask now, whether they’re vaccinated or not,” Hablitzel said.

Manchester resident Michel Sapp has not contracted COVID-19, but he says he has two good reasons why he should get the vaccines.

“It wreaked havoc on my mom,” Sapp said. “You know, I seen it first hand. My sister had to watch my mom pass, and then shortly she passed.”

Still, Sapp says he’s not going to get the vaccine.

“If I catch it then I’ll go get taken care of, but if I don’t catch it why... if it ain’t broke, why fix it?” Sapp said.

Adams County has held several mass vaccination events, but still fewer than a quarter of the 28,000 residents are fully vaccinated.

Hablitzel doesn’t expect the numbers to pick up.

“The interest in the vaccine has decreased, and we’ve seen that statewide, we’ve seen that nationally,” he said. “I think we’ve all assumed it’s gone.”

The health commissioner says it was easier to get people to come in for the shots when there was less vaccine to go around and only certain age groups were eligible.

But with plenty of serum in stock for anyone who wants it, there are still those who refuse.

“I’m not sick. I’m healthy as an ox,” Sapp said. “I’ve got second-stage lung cancer and I still keep going.”

Hablitzel says he put out a memo to his staff this morning requiring everyone who works in the Adams County Health Department to mask up regardless of their vaccination status.

He says there is no better way to get the message out than to lead by example.

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