Wednesday, April 1st, 2020
Fourth Mercer virus case reported
By Leslie Gartrell
CELINA - Mercer County Health District officials have reported two new positive cases of COVID-19, bringing Mercer County's total number of positive cases to four.
Auglaize County officials also reported a new case, bringing its total to three.
The Mercer County district reported the third positive patient is a woman between 30 and 40 and the fourth is a woman between the ages of 20 and 30. Both are in self-isolation at home, according to Kristy Fryman, district public information officer.
The district was notified of both cases around 5:30 p.m. Tuesday. Testing was completed at an Ohio Department of Health lab. The two new positive patients have no known connection to the previous confirmed cases, Fryman said.
The health district had reported a man between the age of 70-79 who was hospitalized as the first positive patient in the county. The second positive patient had been reported as a non-hospitalized woman between the age of 60-69. The district also reported 16 pending cases and 24 negative test results. They have reported no deaths due to the virus.
The Auglaize County Health Department has reported three positive patients: a hospitalized 65-year-old woman, a 49-year-old non-hospitalized woman and a 30-year-old woman who was not hospitalized as of Tuesday afternoon.
Health commissioner Oliver Fisher said the health department is aware of 16 people who are being tested. Tests sent to an ODH lab also have resulted in three negative results. Four other tests are pending.
Fisher said the department is aware of six samples being tested at commercial labs. Two samples from outside the county also are being tested, he added.
Upon notification of a positive COVID-19 case, local health department workers begin a thorough investigation to contact the person who tested positive and obtain a list of that person's close contacts. Those people are then notified and advised to self-quarantine and monitor symptoms.
According to ODH, modeling suggests the COVID-19 pandemic will peak in Ohio around April 25, with more than 9,000 new cases predicted per day.
Fisher said Auglaize County officials urge people to stay home if at all possible. People should leave home only when necessary. When traveling, people should try to limit the number of people who go, he added.
"Only go out for essentials," he said. "Make sure it's not a family trip."
COVID-19 symptoms include fever, cough and shortness of breath, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 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.
The CDC says people should seek medical attention if they experience emergency warning signs, including trouble breathing, persistent pain or pressure in the chest, new confusion and bluish lips or face. The list is not inclusive, and people should consult their medical provider for any other symptoms that are severe or concerning.
Fryman in the release urged people to get information from trusted sources such as the health district, ODH or the CDC. The potential of misinformation and rumors during a public health threat is high, she added, noting rumors can fuel panic.
"We live in a small community, and we ask you to be respectful," she said in the release. "If you hear a rumor that is not supported by facts released by our office, ODH, or CDC, please do not spread that rumor."
People can call the Mercer County Health District COVID-19 call center at 567-890-2619 from 9 a.m.-3 p.m. Monday-Friday to ask questions about COVID-19.
In other news, the Auglaize County Health District Advisory Council met via teleconference on Tuesday morning. The participating members formed an executive committee to continue with the meeting after being unable to secure a quorum.
The executive committee unanimously nominated and reappointed Linda Kitzmiller to the health board. Kitzmiller currently serves as board president.