Thursday, May 21st, 2020
St. Henry woman, 56, dies of virus
By Leslie Gartrell
CELINA - Officials on Wednesday said the fight against COVID-19 isn't over as a third person has died in Mercer County, and five new cases raise the county's total to 160.
One new case of COVID-19 was announced in Auglaize County.
A 56-year-old St. Henry woman is the third Mercer County resident to die from COVID-19, county health district administrator Jason Menchhofer said. He believed the woman died on Monday.
Reports of deaths are often delayed, Menchhofer said, as the health department wants to ensure that COVID-19 is listed as the cause of death before reporting it as such.
Three of the five new cases involve women: one from the age from 10-20, one from 70-80 and one from 90-100, according to a district news release. All the women are self-isolating at home.
The other two cases involve men, with one being from the age of 20-30 who is self-isolating and a hospitalized man, 80-90.
District officials also reported 70 people who have recovered, 100 pending cases, 508 negative test results, 10 hospitalizations and three deaths from COVID-19. Cases have been confirmed in people as old as 98 and as young as 1 month. Women account for 84 cases, and men make up 73 cases.
Of the 160 confirmed cases, 101 involve white non-Hispanic people, 50 Pacific Islanders, five Hispanics and one Asian.
Health department epidemiologist Deb Scheer and Menchhofer updated health board members on the county's COVID-19 status during Wednesday morning's meeting.
Menchhofer said they would like to have more volunteers. Health department employees are beginning to burn out without having days off as they perform contact tracing.
As the number of cases continues to climb, Menchhofer said Mercer County has yet to hit its peak. The number of test results received varies day by day. District officials receive as many as 18 results and others, such as Wednesday, they get only five.
In addition to more cases countywide, the number of confirmed cases at The Gardens at St. Henry has increased in recent days.
Health officials declared an outbreak at the nursing home on May 13 after one employee and a former resident tested positive. The district now reports 22 confirmed cases at the facility, 11 of which involve staff members, 10 residents and one former resident.
Health officials noted long-term care facilities are at higher risk of communicable disease outbreaks due to the close proximity of residents as well as residents' underlying health conditions.
Officials have been working with The Gardens at St. Henry staff to contain the spread by isolating those who are ill and contacting those who may have been exposed. The Gardens staff also have set up a designated COVID-19 area in the facility.
District officials also declared an outbreak at Maximum Personal Achievement in Celina. A home client and one home-health aide have tested positive for the virus. An employee at Celina Manor has also tested positive.
In a separate matter, Menchhofer updated board members on the outbreak at the St. Henry Cooper Farms processing plant.
District officials declared an outbreak at the facility on May 7. Fifty employees, or 32% of all total county cases, have tested positive. Menchhofer said one case has been confirmed at Cooper's Fort Recovery plant.
Other employers with multiple cases include Basic Grain (four), Mercer Health (four), Crown Equipment Corp. (three) and Novolex (two).
Scheer noted 25 confirmed cases involve health care workers, making up 16% of total cases.
She added 25 houses, two apartment complexes and one mobile home park were reported to have multiple cases.
Cases are widespread throughout the county. Celina has the largest number with 65. Coldwater has 36, and St. Henry has 32. Fort Recovery has 10, and Maria Stein has seven. Cases have also been reported in Rockford (five), Mendon (three), Chickasaw (one) and Burkettsville (one).
The health district has an online dashboard, available at arcg.is/1mTqa5, which includes a map of cases by town and zip code and demographic breakdowns by race, sex, age range and the number of cases by the date when the tests were taken. The dashboard's map also includes a breakdown of long-term care and confinement facilities with confirmed cases of COVID-19 by staff and/or residents.
Health officials will update the online dashboard each weekday by 4 p.m. People with questions about the virus can contact the health district by calling its COVID-19 call center at 567-890-2619 from 9 a.m.-3 p.m. Monday-Friday.
The Auglaize County Health Department reported a 34-year-old man who is self-isolating at home is the latest confirmed case in that county.
Department officials also reported 55 confirmed cases, three probable cases, 11 hospitalizations, 26 people who have recovered and three deaths from COVID-19.
As of Wednesday night, the Ohio Department of Health had reported 29,436 confirmed and probable cases, 5,198 hospitalizations and 1,781 confirmed and probable deaths from COVID-19.