Ohio Public Health Advisory System - July 30

With COVID-19 cases now ranging from people two years old to 77 years old, the Pike County General Health District is reporting there have been a total of 63 reported cases of the disease in the county as of Thursday, July 30, including 21 active cases.

As of Thursday, the total cases include 33 females and 30 males. Fifty-seven of the cases are confirmed cases, and six are probable cases of the disease. There have been three positive antibody tests in the county so far. The health district reported that there are currently no hospitalizations for COVID-19 in the county. According to the Ohio Department of Health, there have been eight hospitalizations overall for the disease in Pike County.

In answer to a question on Facebook on Monday, July 27, the Pike County General Health District stated that they were investigating an official outbreak at a small church in Waverly that had four cases as of the time of the health district’s Facebook posting on July 27. The health district stated that an outbreak is defined as two or more cases tied to a single location or a single event.

Ohio’s color-coded Public Health Advisory System was updated on Thursday, and Pike County is still at Level 1 (Yellow) Public Emergency, Active Exposure and Spread. However, Pike County is now surrounded by Level 2 (Increased Exposure and Spread) (Orange) counties (Scioto County was downgraded from Level 3 Red after two weeks at that level), as Ross, Scioto, Jackson, Adams, and Highland counties are all currently at Level 2.

According to the Pike County General Health District, Pike County had one indicator triggered for the health advisory system update on Thursday, that being proportion of cases not in a congregate setting. This indicator is triggered if proportion of cases that are not in a congregate setting goes over 50 percent in at least one of the last three weeks, according to the health district.

“At Alert Level 1, all current health orders and sector guidance should be followed as they are in all levels, including guidelines for business and mass gatherings,” Ohio Governor Mike DeWine stated when introducing the public health advisory system recently. “On an individual basis, all Ohioans should continue to take appropriate health and safety precautions, including conducting daily health and symptom assessments, staying home when sick and contact your medical provider for advice, maintain social distance of at least six feet, wear a face mask or covering while in public, exercise increased caution when interacting with others who are not practicing social distancing by wearing face coverings, avoid travel to high-risk areas and practice good hygiene such as regular hand-washing.”

These recommendations are for all four alert levels, and levels 2, 3, and 4 also have more recommendations added to them.

“The good news is that more people are wearing masks in our urban counties, and we are seeing the spread slow (in those urban counties) because of that,” said the governor. “The bad news is that Ohio’s more rural counties are turning orange with significantly more spread taking place. I will again urge those who live in rural counties to wear masks while in public.”

DeWine indicated that the urban counties where the mask order has been in force the longest amount of time are seeing a significant decrease in the spread. He added that those counties are still at a high rate, but that the rate there has dramatically slowed down, which he credited to the mask order being in place for a longer period of time as well as the compliance rate of wearing masks increasing in those areas.

“That is no accident that those two things are occurring together,” he said.

He also indicated that the bad news is that there are now a lot more Orange (Level 2) counties and a lot fewer Yellow (Level 1 counties).

“And so what this means is that (the virus) is spreading out, and, candidly, in the rural parts of Ohio, the mask wearing is much, much less than it is in the urban areas, and that is one of the reasons that you are seeing the spread, and that spread will continue,” the governor said, adding that mask wearing will slow the virus down.

Officials have warned that wearing face masks is not a substitute for other safety measures, such as social distancing, washing hands, etc., but that the face masks provide an extra layer of protection, especially since asymptomatic spread of the disease has been occurring. People have also been warned that they should make sure that they wash their hands prior to putting on a mask and after putting it on as well as before and after taking it off.

At a press conference on Thursday, DeWine reported 1,733 new COVID-19 cases in Ohio over the previous 24-hour period.

He said that this is a shocking number, and he stated that of the 10 highest daily reported cases in the state, nine of them have been within the last three weeks.

“Today’s new case report is the highest daily count that we’ve reported, so that is certainly not good news,” the governor stated on Tuesday.

He also mentioned that intensive care admissions and hospital admissions were up. He said that as of Wednesday, the number of COVID-19 patients currently in the hospital remains “a very high number.”

“As you recall, we said that Tuesday we had the highest number of people in the hospital that we’ve ever had from COVID, so those are not good trends,” he said. “We do, however, continue the trend of seeing fewer people coming into the emergency rooms who are complaining of COVID-19.”

Detailed data on all 88 counties are now available on the Ohio Public Health Advisory System’s website at https://coronavirus.ohio.gov/wps/portal/gov/covid-19/public-health-advisory-system/

The system was developed to provide local health departments, community leaders, and the public with data and information on the severity of the COVID-19 spread in the counties in which they live, according to the governor’s office.

As of Friday, the Ohio Department of Health (ODH) was reporting a total of 91,159 reported COVID-19 cases in Ohio, including 86,333 confirmed cases and 4,826 probable COVID-19 cases according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) expanded case definition.

As of Friday, there have been 3,489 reported COVID-19 deaths in Ohio, including 3,222 confirmed COVID-19 deaths and 267 probable COVID-19 deaths according to the CDC expanded death definition. Reported cases in Ohio have ranged from less than one year old to 109 years old. The cases have had a median age of 42 years old.

As of Friday, there have been a total 10,790 hospitalizations for COVID-19 in the state and 2,552 intensive care unit admissions, according to ODH. Also as of Friday, ODH was reporting 65,788 cases presumed recovered in Ohio (presumed Recovered is defined as cases with a symptom onset date greater than 21 days prior who are not deceased).

As of Friday, July 31, ODH’s numbers showed that the overall number of reported cases, reported deaths, and reported hospitalizations in Ohio were all significantly above the 21-day average trends.

Also on Thursday, the governor announced that Ohio will separate its mass gathering guidance into its own order. Mass gathering guidance was most recently referenced as part of other orders, and combining this information into a stand-alone order will allow citizens to easily find guidance on holding gatherings in a safe manner, according to information from the governor’s office.

Mass gatherings in Ohio remain limited to 10 people.

“We have seen cases in recent weeks where outbreaks have been connected to informal social gatherings like birthday parties, neighborhood gatherings, graduation parties, weddings, funerals, and gatherings at people’s homes,” said the governor. “The fact remains that this virus spreads when someone with the virus comes in contact with others who don’t yet have it. When we gather together with people outside our households, we increase the likelihood this virus can spread.”

The order will still permit Ohioans to go to work, worship, go to school, and acquire goods and services, however, this order will offer clear recommendations on safely holding gatherings, according to the governor’s office.

• Gatherings at a household or family residence should be limited to close friends and family and are recommended to be 10 visitors or less.

• Residents in a red or purple county, as designated by the Ohio Public Health Advisory System, should limit hosting or attending gatherings of any size.

• Wear a mask at all times at gatherings and maintain physical distance.

• Use take out, outdoor dining, or indoor dining only when strict social distancing can be maintained.

• Take extra precautions if you go to bars or nightclubs, where use of masks typically is inconsistent and drinking alcohol can lead to less social distancing.

• Protect anyone with serious medical conditions at home by social distancing at home, wearing a mask, and using high levels of personal hygiene.

• High-risk individuals should take extra precautions to limit the number of people they interact with.

• Make the group of people you interact with most often as small as possible and make sure that they are taking appropriate COVID-19 precautions – even if you are just gathering with family friends or neighbors at your home.

Videos of full updates from the governor, including versions with foreign language translation, can be viewed on the Ohio Channel’s YouTube page at https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCporaXCeaOJgZKz7y3C0zbg

For more information on Ohio’s response to COVID-19, including tips for the prevention of the disease, visit coronavirus.ohio.gov or call 1-833-4-ASK-ODH. For Pike County information, visit the Pike County General Health District’s Facebook page by using an internet search or following this link: https://www.facebook.com/Pike-County-General-Health-District-177816679077330/

Email at mlucas@newswatchman.com; follow on Twitter @NewsWatchman.

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