Saturday, March 28th, 2020

Auglaize has first positive virus test

By Leslie Gartrell
WAPAKONETA - An Auglaize County resident has tested positive for COVID-19, according to an Auglaize County Health Department news release, the first for that county.
Health commissioner Oliver Fisher said the department received the positive test result from an Ohio Department of Health lab at 4:25 p.m. Friday. The person is a 65-year-old female, who is being treated at a local hospital.
Fisher said she is in stable condition. The patient had no travel history and no known contact with another confirmed carrier of COVID-19. No further personal information will be released to protect her privacy.
Earlier Friday morning a news release from Wapakoneta Mayor Tom Stinebaugh said a person who worked for Pratt Industries had tested positive for the virus. The employee, a male truck driver, was sent home under self-quarantine for two weeks, according to the release.
Fisher said he had no knowledge of the driver until he saw the news release on social media and said he is likely not an Auglaize County resident.
Health department staff will begin a thorough investigation by contacting the person who tested positive and obtaining a list of her close contacts. Those people will then be contacted and advised that they need to quarantine at home and monitor symptoms, according to the release.
Mercer County has had two confirmed cases of COVID-19. One is a male between the ages of 70-79 who is hospitalized. The other is a female between the ages of 60-69 who is quarantining at home.
Dr. Juan Torres, Auglaize County Health District medical director, said in a news release that people following preventive procedures protect not only themselves but also their family, local health care workers and first responders during a time of increased demand for health care.
"You are the most important player in this event," Torres said in the release. "What you do every day for the next few weeks will impact the lives of your family, your neighbors, your community and the lives of the health care workers serving you.
"Remember your health care workers are at work for you," he continued. "Please, stay at home for them."
As of Friday, ODH reported 1,137 confirmed cases in Ohio, 276 hospitalization and 19 deaths. Ages range from 1 to 96 years old and the median age is 52. Over half of confirmed cases are male (52%), while 48% are female.  COVID-19 is part of a large family of coronaviruses, some of which cause illness in people and others that circulate among animals, according to ODH. Rarely, animal coronaviruses can evolve to infect and spread among people. This happened with severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) in 2003, Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS) in 2014 and now COVID-19.
COVID-19 symptoms include fever, cough and shortness of breath, according to the CDC. These symptoms may appear two to 14 days after exposure. Older adults and people who have severe underlying medical conditions such as heart or lung disease or diabetes seem to be at higher risk for developing more serious complications from COVID-19.
People can protect themselves against COVID-19 by washing their hands often, covering their mouth/nose with a tissue or sleeve when coughing or sneezing and frequently cleaning and disinfecting frequently touched surfaces. They should also avoid close contact and stay at least 6 feet away from others. Fisher emphasized that social distancing is essential to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
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