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Highly Contagious Delta Variant Spreading in Ohio Counties

073021 CDC map.jpg
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
The CDC's latest map shows more Ohio counties with substantial or high spread, including Portage, Geauga, Trumbull and Columbiana.

Updated guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend people wear masks indoors in areas of significant COVID transmission, regardless of vaccination status.

This is due to the Delta variant of COVID-19, which is more contagious than other strains of the virus.

The latest CDC maps show high spread in Ashland County and substantial spread in a number of other Ohio counties, including Portage.

State health department data shows Portage County saw cases per 100,000 people jump by 22 to 72 this week. Kent City Health Commissioner Joan Seidel says if the county reaches the level of substantial transmission, masks would certainly be highly encouraged, but likely not mandated in the city.

To mask or not?
Kent City Health Commissioner says masks can help limit spread

“We know that the delta variant is much different than the novel coronavirus was. It's certainly being spread most readily among those people who are unvaccinated,” Seidel said. “And if they're not wearing masks, I am concerned for their health.”

And while the return of Kent State students in just under a month is a concern for the city, Seidel says the university is being proactive in testing as well as making vaccines available to students at the DeWeese Health Center on campus.

The Kent City Health Department continues to offer vaccine clinics to residents who are ready to get the shot.

Rachel Gross is a senior journalism major in the Kent State School of Media and Journalism and will be graduating Fall 2021. She is the current general manager of the student-run TV station on Kent State’s campus, TV2, and has covered major political events for the station such as the Presidential Debate in Cleveland. With her minor being in political science, she hopes to work in the political news field after graduation.