Thursday, September 10th, 2020

Report: 3 COVID outbreaks in area

By Leslie Gartrell
CELINA - Three COVID-19 outbreaks have been declared at Celina facilities since Saturday, health district officials sid.
Health board members learned of the outbreaks during Wednesday morning's meeting. District administrator Jason Menchhofer said the outbreaks are located at Celina Manor, the Celina city administration building and Mercer County Head Start.
An outbreak was declared at Celina Manor on Saturday, according to public information officer Kristy Fryman, and four staff members have been confirmed to have COVID-19. The outbreak at Celina's administration building was declared on Sunday as three employees were confirmed to have the virus.
The outbreak at Mercer County Head Start was declared on Tuesday after three employees tested positive for the virus. Menchhofer said Head Start educators are teaching virtually.
The district also had some good news to report on Wednesday. Health officials reported only one new case of COVID-19, slightly raising the county's overall total to 871.
Officials also reported 50 probable cases, 774 people who have recovered, 73 pending tests, 2,989 negative test results, eight hospitalizations, 15 deaths and one probable death from COVID-19. Of the 871 confirmed cases, 80 are active.
Menchhofer said the district's numbers may vary from those reported by the Ohio Department of Health.
The numbers vary according to the date and time the results are received, he explained. The health district receives most of its COVID-19 test results from local hospital partners before that data is received by ODH.
In addition, the district reports new cases daily based on when the test results were received, while ODH reports daily case counts based on the date each person began experiencing symptoms.
These differences can cause ODH's numbers to appear to be out of sync with the district data, officials said in Wednesday's release.
"We report the numbers as they're given to us," Menchhofer said.
Julia Shaffer, district director of nursing, added that negative test results are not required to be reported to local or state health officials.
The district's negative test results number comes from testing done through Mercer Health and other various laboratories, she said.
While the district's negative test results numbers don't include every negative result, Shaffer said including those numbers can give the public an idea of trends.
In August, 290 cases of COVID-19 were reported, the largest number of cases reported in a month since the first case was identified on March 24. Since the beginning of September, 72 cases have been reported.
Cases have been reported in all areas of the county since the beginning of the pandemic. Since March, Celina has had 393 cases; Coldwater, 135; Fort Recovery, 107; St. Henry, 107; Maria Stein, 58; Rockford, 32; Mendon, 15; Chickasaw, 12; Burkettsville, four; and Montezuma, three, according to the district's online COVID-19 dashboard at
Menchhofer noted the dashboard has a new addition that shows validated complaints at different businesses in the county.
Health board members in early August clarified enforcement guidelines for staff. Upon receiving the first complaint about a violation, health district staff will continue to contact the reported entity and educate those involved in what is required. Employees will investigate subsequent complaints in person with assistance from local law enforcement if needed, and repeated violations will be documented.
Menchhofer said the businesses that appear on the dashboard have been contacted by the health district multiple times about complaints, which usually involve social distancing and mask wearing.
According to the dashboard, Celina Moose Lodge has had validated complaints regarding social distancing and mask wearing, and Duckfoot's Bar and Grill has had a validated complaint regarding social distancing.
Other businesses with liquor permits have been cited or warned by the Ohio Investigative Unit, which is made up of plainclothes peace officers responsible for enforcing Ohio's alcohol, tobacco and food stamp fraud laws. Southside Restaurant in Coldwater received an administrative citation in late August for "blatant violations of health orders put in place to reduce the spread of the coronavirus," and Boardwalk Grill in Celina has received at least one warning from OIU.
Menchhofer said the district likely will not include incidents reported by OIU on the dashboard and focus on local incidents instead.
Menchhofer also said the district is still struggling to get people to stay at home when they need to isolate or quarantine due to COVID-19.
The administrator said many instances have been reported of people who have been ordered to self-isolate or quarantine who continue to go about their daily lives or even attend large gatherings such as weddings without masks or social distancing.
Health board members also,
• learned Allison Sudhoff has been hired as a part-time clerical assistant at a rate of $15 an hour beginning Tuesday.
• learned Mariah Goins was hired as a full-time health services clerk at a rate of $15.25, beginning Sept. 21.
• met in executive session for an hour to discuss employee time and compensation. No action was taken.
As of Wednesday evening, ODH had reported 132,965 confirmed and probable cases in the state, 14,083 hospitalizations and 4,324 confirmed and probable deaths from COVID-19.
The Auglaize County Heath Department did not report any new information by press time.

COVID-19 cases/deaths:
Ohio cases 132,965
Ohio deaths 4,324
Mercer County cases 871
Mercer County deaths 15
Auglaize County cases 457
Auglaize County deaths 8

A COVID-19 outbreak at Celina's Public Works Facility on Portland Street was declared on Sunday. The city facility was misidentified in the article.
The error was made in information provided to the newspaper.
Additional online story on this date
$100K grant to help library in pandemic
CELINA- Mercer County District Library officials will pursue a slew of projects aimed at safeguarding patrons from coronavirus exposure at all four branches after landing a $100,000 grant. [More]
Subscriber and paid stories on this date
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