Ohio Public Health Advisory System - Nov. 5

COVID-19 numbers in Pike County and the State of Ohio continued to rise significantly this week, and, sadly, Pike County confirmed its first death from COVID-19 on Friday (see related story in this edition).

Along with a large portion of the state, Pike County continues at a Red Level 3 Public Emergency, Very High exposure and spread, according to the Ohio Public Health Advisory updated on Thursday. Pike County also joins the rest of the state in being rated with a high incidence of the disease.

Pike County triggered the following four indicators on the Ohio Public Health Advisory, as reported by the Pike County General Health District:

“Indicator 1 — New cases per capita (352.87) cases per 100k over the past two weeks)

“Indicator 2 — Sustained increase in new cases

“Indicator 3 — Proportion of cases not in a congregate setting

“Indicator 5 — Sustained increase in outpatient visits for COVID-like illness”

“Our rise in cases can be attributed to community spread where individuals are not sure where they were exposed – no real red flag during the interview process. We are also seeing cases resulting from household spread, cases tied to family gatherings, and one workplace outbreak,” the Pike County General Health District stated in a Facebook post on Thursday.

As spread is increasing, the Pike health district reminded everyone to continue to do their part and take preventative measures by practicing social distancing (at least six feet apart), by washing your hands frequently, by avoiding touching your face, and by wearing a facial covering in public settings.

“Please avoid large gatherings and if attending a large gathering, do your best to maintain social distancing and wear a facial covering while indoors — and outdoors if social distancing cannot be maintained,” the Pike health district stated. “Most importantly — if you or your child feel sick, please stay home and seek guidance from a health care professional.”

Pike’s case numbers rose significantly this week with nine new cases on Monday, 21 on Tuesday, 14 on Wednesday, and 11 on Thursday. Reported recoveries in Pike County this week included six on Monday, six on Tuesday, three on Wednesday, and 12 on Thursday.

As of Thursday, the Pike County General Health District was reporting 88 active COVID-19 cases in the county and nine current hospitalizations for the disease. They were reporting a total of 446 cases since pandemic tracking began, including 378 confirmed COVID-19 cases and 68 probable COVID-19 cases (which includes positive antibody tests and rapid tests). They were reporting a total of 358 recovered, 245 people being currently monitored, and 961 having completed monitoring. Cases in the county, as of Thursday, have included 261 females and 185 males, and ages have ranged from one year old to 91 years old. And now, sadly, the health district is reporting one death from COVID-19 in Pike County as of Friday.

On Thursday, new health data compiled by the Ohio Department of Health revealed that all of Ohio’s 88 counties are now considered “high incidence” as defined by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

At his press conference on Thursday, Ohio Governor Mike DeWine announced that Ohio is once again breaking records in regard to COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations. Between Wednesday and Thursday, health officials reported a total of 4,961 new positive coronavirus cases in Ohio, which was the highest number of new cases in a 24-hour period up to that date. On Friday, that number went even higher, breaking the 5,000-case-a-day mark, with the state reporting 5,008 new COVID-19 cases in Ohio during the 24-hour period between Thursday and Friday.

The governor also reported that as of Thursday there were 2,075 current patients in the state hospitalized with COVID-19, a 55 percent increase in hospitalized patients compared to two weeks ago. Of the hospitalized patients, as of Thursday, 541 people were in intensive care. According to the governor’s office, the previous record for intensive care unit admissions was 533 in April.

“This virus is flaring up, and we have to push it down — the economy depends on it,” said Governor DeWine. “If the virus continues to aggressively spread, people will lose confidence in their ability to safely go to stores, restaurants, and other businesses. If we want to keep our economy moving, we must all live with this virus and we must all be more careful.”

Governor DeWine stressed that the new record number of cases is not due to increased testing capacity in the state. Since September 24, the total number of tests in Ohio has increased by approximately 44 percent, but positive cases have increased 280 percent in the same time period. If a person is tested multiple times, they are only counted once.

“There have been so many cases in the past two weeks that the risk of catching this virus in every county of this state is very real and very concerning,” said Governor DeWine. “Again, I ask everyone to recognize their personal responsibility in slowing the spread of this deadly disease. It’s up to every citizen in Ohio to choose to slow the spread by wearing masks, distancing, and making overall smart decisions.”

According to Thursday’s updated Ohio Public Health Advisory System map, 56 counties are currently rated as having a very high risk of exposure and spread (Red Level 3), up from 43 counties last week. This represents the highest number of Red Level 3 counties since the launch of the advisory system in July. As of today, 86 percent of Ohioans are living in a Red Level 3 county.

As of Friday, the state was reporting a total of 240,178 COVID-19 cases in Ohio since pandemic tracking began, including 225,796 confirmed COVID-19 cases and 13,382 probable COVID-19 cases according to the CDC expanded case definition.

As of Friday, the state was reporting a total of 5,494 deaths from COVID-19 in Ohio since pandemic tracking began, including 5,165 confirmed COVID-19 deaths and 329 probable COVID-19 deaths according to the CDC expanded death definition.

Cases in Ohio have reportedly ranged from less than one year old to 109 years old with a median age of 41 years old. As of Friday, Ohio was reporting 180,758 presumed recovered, defined as cases with a symptom onset date more than 21 days prior who are not deceased.

On Friday, the previous 24-hour reported change in COVID-19 deaths in the state as well as the previous 24-hour reported change in COVID-19 hospitalizations in the state were both significantly above the 21-day reported averages.

The indicator overview for the state can be viewed at https://coronavirus.ohio.gov/static/OPHASM/Summary-Alert-Indicators.pdf

More detailed information on the advisory system, its indicators used to establish levels, and guidelines for each level can be found at https://coronavirus.ohio.gov/wps/portal/gov/covid-19/public-health-advisory-system/

Detailed information on Ohio Public Health Advisory Levels as well as information on who high-risk individuals are and more is available at https://coronavirus.ohio.gov/static/OPHASM/COVID-19-Risk-Level-Guidelines-GP.pdf

Video of the governor’s full updates, including versions with foreign language translation, can be viewed on the Ohio Channel’s YouTube page.

For more information on Ohio’s response to COVID-19, including tips for prevention of the disease, visit coronavirus.ohio.gov or call 1-833-4-ASK-ODH.

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

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