Thursday, June 4th, 2020

Mercer County reports 8th death from virus

By Leslie Gartrell
CELINA - An eighth person has died from COVID-19 and three news cases of the virus reported on Wednesday raised Mercer County's total count to 218.
In Auglaize County, one new confirmed case raised that county's confirmed total to 69.
The eighth person to die from COVID-19 was a 91-year-old resident at The Gardens at St. Henry, according to a Mercer County Health District news release on Wednesday.
The three new cases involve two men, one between the age of 60-70 and one from the age of 40-50 and a woman from the age of 80-90. The two men are self-isolating at home, and the woman is hospitalized.
District officials also reported 157 people who have recovered, 46 pending tests, 744 negative test results and 10 hospitalizations due to COVID-19.
Of the eight deaths, five have been residents at The Gardens at St. Henry, two lived in Coldwater and one lived in Celina.
Cases are widespread throughout the county. According to the health district's online dashboard, Celina has the largest number of cases at 83, while Coldwater has 49; St. Henry, 39; Fort Recovery, 22; Maria Stein, 12; Rockford, six; Mendon, three; Chickasaw, three; and Burkettsville, one.
Mercer County has one of the highest rates of cases per capita in the state, based on the number of cases reported on Tuesday by the Ohio Department of Health.
With a population slightly higher than 41,000 according to the U.S. Census Bureau, Mercer County has a rate of 527.1 cases per 100,000 people. Only seven of Ohio's 88 counties have more cases per capita than Mercer. They are Lucas, 532.7; Monroe, 578.6; Mahoning, 636.7; Belmont, 653.7; Columbiana, 864.7; Pickaway, 3,578.7; and Marion, 4,108.
Outbreaks at the Cooper Farms processing plant in St. Henry and The Gardens at St. Henry have contributed to the high rate, said Jason Menchhofer, public health administrator for the health district.
Another possibility, he said, is more cases are being identified in the county as testing has become more readily available, though he could not confirm if that were accurate.
The number of new confirmed cases has dropped recently, according to the health district's online dashboard. Positive test results hit a high on May 6 when 17 tests were completed and again on May 10 as 18 tests were completed. By the week of May 24-30, 27 tests taken had detected the virus.
Menchhofer said he believes the county has seen a peak, but noted more peaks may come in the future.
"If there is going to be a spike in cases resulting from relaxing of the restrictions and people socializing more over the past couple of weekends, we will start to see it soon," he said.
The Auglaize County Health Department reported that its 69th confirmed case involves a 60-year-old woman who is self-isolating at home.
Department officials on Wednesday also reported eight probable cases, 11 hospitalizations, 51 people who have recovered and three deaths from COVID-19.
As of Wednesday evening, ODH has reported 36,792 confirmed and probable cases in the state, 6,251 hospitalizations and 2,299 confirmed and probable deaths.
Additional online story on this date
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MARIA STEIN - The Starlight Drive-In will open this weekend, with additional rules intended to protect staff and customers from the coronavirus.
CELINA - Lawyers for a Portland, Indiana, woman accused of murder say statements she made to law enforcement should be suppressed because officers did not sufficiently explain her rights.
CELINA - Mercer County commissioners this week awarded a nearly $240,000 contract to a Celina company to replace an aging wastewater pump station at Scotty's Beach in East Jefferson Township.
CELINA - The Taste of Celina Block Party & Car Show, one of the city's most popular events, has been canceled, organizers announced Wednesday on social media.
CELINA - Mercer County Sheriff's deputies on Wednesday arrested a registered sex offender for failure to register his address for the third time this year.
Amazing Athletes
At a 2009 event in St. Henry, former Ohio State football coach Earle Bruce told the story about coming to St. Henry to recruit Jim Lachey.
Bruce recalled that he saw the steeple of the St. Henry Catholic Church and thought he would to lose Lachey to Notre Dame.
Amazing Athletes
Jacqui (Dippold) was a state regular and a record breaker.
It's easy to see the reason why she made the top-four on St. Henry's Amazing Athletes list.