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Friday, November 13th, 2020

Health officials make plea to public

COVID deaths, hospitalizations continue to rise

By Leslie Gartrell

CELINA - Local health department and hospital officials are pleading with the public to get serious about the COVID-19 pandemic as deaths and cases increase.

The effort comes as Mercer County Health District officials reported a staggering 183 new cases over Wednesday and Thursday, raising the county's total number of cases to 2,135.

Auglaize County Health Department officials reported 98 new confirmed cases from Wednesday and Thursday, raising that county's number to 1,526.

The health departments did not report numbers on Wednesday due to the Veterans Day holiday.

Since last Friday, five area residents - three from Auglaize County and two from Mercer - have died from COVID-19.

Officials from both counties' health departments as well as hospitals - Mercer Health and Grand Lake Health System - in a joint statement on Thursday asked residents to join them to take the steps necessary to prevent further spread of COVID-19.

"In recent weeks, we have not only seen COVID-19 cases trending upward, but hospitalizations and those needing emergent care have surged," the release reads. "This concerning jump puts your local healthcare systems at risk of a capacity crisis in addition to staffing struggles."

Officials went on to say the crush of COVID-19 patients seeking care could potentially put those seeking other health care services in jeopardy if they have no access to the care they need.

The release was signed by Mercer Health CEO Lisa Klenke, Grand Lake Health System interim CEO Cindy Berning, Mercer County Health District Administrator Jason Menchhofer and Auglaize County Health Department Commissioner Oliver Fisher.

"We know COVID fatigue is real yet so are the consequences of letting up. We will continue to be there in this moment of need and ask all of you to do the same."

Health district officials in their own release on Thursday said the Ohio Department of Health had reported an incidence rate of 964.25 new cases per 100,000 people in Mercer County, the highest incidence rate the county has seen.

"I think it's important to recognize that this is not the same kind of spike in cases we saw in the spring and again in the summer," Menchhofer said. "This recent increase in COVID-19 cases is one of a greater magnitude, and it shows in the way it is stressing the hospital systems."

Health district officials also reported 284 probable cases, 1,645 people who have recovered, 114 pending tests, 4,695 negative test results, 26 hospitalizations, 32 deaths and two probable deaths from COVID-19. Of the 2,135 confirmed cases, 454 are active.

The breakdown of total cases by community is Celina, 921; Coldwater, 384; St. Henry, 258; Fort Recovery, 212; Maria Stein, 122; Rockford, 117; Mendon, 36; Chickasaw, 32; Burkettsville, 15; Montezuma, five; and the Willshire area, three, according to the district's online COVID-19 dashboard.

Auglaize County health officials reported 98 new confirmed cases over the two days, 302 probable cases, 97 total hospitalizations, 860 people who have recovered and 19 deaths from COVID-19. Officials did not have the number of active cases available by press time.

The breakdown of total cases by community is Wapakoneta, 614; St. Marys, 546; Minster, 284; New Bremen, 186; Cridersville, 83; Waynesfield, 50; New Knoxville, 34; Spencerville, seven; Buckland, five; the Lima area, four; the Botkins area, four; St. Johns, three; Uniopolis, three; New Hampshire, two; the Lakeview area, two; and the Mendon area, one.

As of Thursday evening, the Ohio Department of Health had reported 274,457 confirmed and probable cases in the state, an increase of 7,101 cases from Wednesday. ODH also reported 21,558 hospitalizations and 5,658 confirmed and probable deaths from COVID-19.

COVID-19 cases/deaths:

There were 183 new cases in Mercer County. Auglaize had 98.

Ohio cases 274,457
Ohio deaths 5,658
Mercer County cases 2,135
Mercer County deaths 32
Auglaize County cases 1,526
Auglaize County deaths 19
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