Saturday, April 4th, 2020
First local coronavirus death reported
Mercer County man was 71
By Leslie Gartrell
CELINA - A 71-year-old Mercer County man became the first local person to die from the coronavirus, health officials reported.
Mercer County Health District officials announced the death in a news release on Friday evening. The man had been hospitalized and was the first person in the county to test positive for the virus. No further information about the man will be released to respect his family's privacy, according to the release.
"Mercer County Health District staff would like to express our deepest sympathies to the family and friends of the gentleman who died," Jason Menchhofer, district health administrator, said in the release.
As of Friday, the health district had reported six confirmed cases, 21 pending cases and 41 negative cases.
In addition to the death, the confirmed cases include a woman in her 60s, a woman from 30 to 40 years old, a woman from 20 to 30 years old, a man 40 to 50 years old and a woman from 20 to 30 years old who is the most recent person to test positive for COVID-19.
The Auglaize County Health District reported two new cases on Friday, bringing that county's total to five. Health administrator Oliver Fisher said a 47-year-old woman is hospitalized and the second person, a 51-year-old woman, had been hospitalized but is in self-isolation at home, Fisher said.
The department received test results on Friday morning, he added. Testing for the patients was completed by an Ohio Department of Health lab. The two new cases were not connected.
The Auglaize County department previously had reported three positive patients: a hospitalized 65-year-old woman and two unhospitalized patients, a 49-year-old woman and a 30-year-old woman.
Upon notification of a positive COVID-19 case, health officials 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 advised to self-quarantine and monitor symptoms.
According to ODH, modeling suggests that the COVID-19 pandemic will peak around April 25 at more than 9,000 new cases per day in Ohio.
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.
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.
ODH has reported 2,902 confirmed cases of COVID-19, 802 hospitalizations and 81 deaths.
People can contact the MCHD COVID-19 call center at 567-890-2619 from 9 a.m.-3 p.m. Monday-Friday.