YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – The World Health Organization (WHO) dropped its COVID-19 health emergency last week, however, there are still cases in Youngstown. Mercy Health Medical Director Dr. James Kravec sheds light on COVID-19 in the area.

“There are clusters here and there, but there’s not a large uptick of patients in the outpatient setting either,” explained Dr. Kravec.

Dr. Kravec says the real measurement of the severity of COVID-19 is the number of patients hospitalized.

“It’s a very low number that we have in the tri-county area,” said Dr. Kravec. “We were in the hundreds back at the peak and now we’re probably on two hands worth.”

People are still testing positive, though, since March 2022, the number of cases in Mahoning County has consistently been at 100 or below everyday day. In January 2022, it was between 300 and 500 a day.

People are also still dying from COVID-19. Since January 1, 2023 there have been 36 deaths in Mahoning County. In January 2021 alone there were 38. So far this year in Trumbull County, there have been 21 and in Columbiana County, there have been 10.

Dr. Kravec says the lower number of cases and deaths can be attributed to two factors.

“First of all, the strains we’re seeing now in the community, with the mutations, are less serious than it was before. So that’s probably the first reason. The second reason is they are seeing, we have a lot of vaccines in the community and a lot of positive cases in the past, and all of those have people with baseline level immunity,” explained Dr. Kravec.

One thing the health emergency has eliminated is free vaccines and free COVID-19 tests. Some insurance companies may still cover the vaccines. Pfizer plans to charge $110-130 a dose while Moderna has pledged to keep its vaccine free.

The cost of a COVID-19 test can range from $35-180.