Monday, May 4th, 2020

Local cases climb as lockdown relaxed

By Leslie Gartrell

Area COVID-19 cases by county.. . .

CELINA -The Mercer County Health District reported four new cases of COVID-19 over the weekend, urging residents to continue social distancing as a string of new cases has raised the county's total of confirmed cases to 30.
The health department on Saturday reported the 27th confirmed case of COVID-19 is a woman from the age of 30-40 years old who is self-isolating at home.
On Sunday, MCHD reported the 28th case is a man from the age of 30-40 years old who is self-isolating at home, while the 29th is a woman from the age of 30-40 years old who is hospitalized. A man from the age of 30-40 years old is the 30th person confirmed to have COVID-19 and he is self-isolating at home.
The health department also reported 11 people who have recovered, 36 pending cases, 243 negative test results, five hospitalizations and one death from COVID-19. The news comes after a cluster of five cases were reported on Friday.
In an email to the newspaper Sunday night, public information officer, emergency response coordinator and Medical Reserve Corps coordinator Kristy Fryman said of the 30 confirmed cases, there are seven groups of cases related by family or place of residence and one group of cases related to a workplace.
The health department urged residents to continue social distancing, avoiding gatherings of more than 10 people and abiding by current restrictions on businesses in a separate news release Sunday afternoon.
"In light of the steady increase in confirmed cases of COVID-19 over the past week and a half, we want to remind Mercer County residents of the importance of cautiously working our way back toward a normal level of activity," the health department wrote in the news release Sunday. "While we all want to return to a more normal way of life, MCHD urges Mercer County residents to continue to take precautions to protect against COVID-19."
The health department in the release said there have been "a higher number of cases in multiple areas and segments" of the local population. Fryman said the health department is waiting on further guidance on how much detail can be released on the segments of the community.
The health department also said the local health care system is currently grappling with a number of health care workers who have become sick with COVID-19, making themselves and the coworkers who interacted with them unable to work for an extended period of time.
"While it may not appear that the health care system is being heavily impacted by COVID-19 patients, a different kind of burden occurs when health care workers become sick with COVID-19," MCHD said in the release.
Fryman said that 22% of Mercer County's confirmed COVID-19 cases are health care workers. The health department notifies the employer of positive cases to learn the last day worked and coworkers that are potential close contacts.
Fryman said as the health department completes their investigation, which includes where the person lives, where they work and who has close contact with them, they will contact people who interacted with that person to determine if they have symptoms.
If an individual who came into contact with someone who tested positive for the coronavirus exhibits symptoms, they are encouraged to seek care and test for COVID-19 and will be in isolation for 14 days depending on test results and symptoms. They will also monitored for temperature and other symptoms during that time.
If the person does not have symptoms, they will be quarantined for 14 days and monitored for temperature and other symptoms. If they become symptomatic they will be encouraged to seek care and test for COVID-19. The health department or occupational health officials will release the person from isolation or quarantine.
In Auglaize County in a news release Saturday reported one new case of COVID-19, bringing the confirmed number of cases in the county to 34.
The newest case is a 51-year-old woman who is self-isolating at home. The health department also reported 19 people who have recovered, eight hospitalizations and three deaths from COVID-19.
People will be reported as recovered from COVID-19 by the MCHD and ACHD when they are released from isolation. Infected people who have been put in isolation are released from quarantine when at least seven days have passed since the onset of symptoms, they have been fever-free for at least 72 hours without taking fever-reducing medication and respiratory symptoms have improved.
ACHD also encouraged people to stay home, stay safe and save lives as testing capabilities increase and confirmed case numbers are expected to continue to rise.
"It is vital that we all continue social distancing in order to prevent the spread of the virus and limit all non-essential activities," ACHD wrote in the release.
The health department also said people should wear a cloth mask as an added layer of protection when out in public.
As of Sunday evening, the Ohio Department of Health reported 19,914 confirmed and probable cases, 3,769 hospitalizations and 1,038 confirmed and probable deaths from COVID-19.
COVID-19 symptoms include fever, cough, shortness of breath, chills, repeated shaking with chills, muscle pain, headache, sore throat and new loss of taste or smell, 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.
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.
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