4th COVID case confirmed
By DEANNE JOHNSON
LISBON — A fourth coronavirus COVID-19 case in Columbiana County was confirmed late Tuesday afternoon, according to health department public information director Laura Fauss.
Statewide numbers released earlier in the day on Tuesday had brought the county’s number to three, but Fauss said the latest case was a result that came back quickly and after the state’s final tabulation occurs each day. The Ohio number released at 2 p.m. Tuesday listed 564 cases statewide in 49 counties, with 149 hospitalizations and eight deaths.
Although not a lot of details are being released about each of the four local cases, Fauss did say the majority of those with cases or suspected cases at this point are still able to self-isolate or treat themselves at home.
She believes right now the hospitals continue to have tests available for those with suspected cases of virus. Fauss said she has not heard differently and knows at least one of the four positive tests came back very quickly, while another test taken days ago and sent to a private lab has not yet returned.
On Monday night, the county received a supply of personal protection equipment (PPE) from the Strategic National Stockpile. The local hospitals have received some and the county EMA and health department are in the process of contacting long-term care facilities and EMS employees, to let them know they are available right now at the EMA.
Fauss admitted the amount of PPE that came were not as many as they had hoped to receive but will help just the same.
“We didn’t need a fork truck to unload it,” said Fauss, “but we’re happy to get them.”
Anyone who has PPE items, such as N-95 masks, gloves or other gear worn to protect health care workers, are being asked to consider donating them to the EMA. Fauss said they gratefully just received some donations, but more are needed, and they will make certain the devices get into the hands of people helping others, people who will need them soon.
Additionally, the county health department has been determining which businesses qualify as essential businesses on the list provided by the stay at home order of state Director of Health Amy Acton over the weekend. Fauss said the local health department wants to see everyone follow the intent of the order to keep more people at home as much as possible, while keeping essential services operating. Health departments and law enforcement are those involved in the enforcement of the order.
County Health Commissioner Wes Vins said he has been in communication with the county prosecutor’s office about the orders as businesses and residents want to comply but are uncertain and seeking clarity. For those businesses still open it is important employees maintain that six feet distance, check the temperatures, keep employees home and continue to do other things to keep themselves safe.
“I think we’ve got really good compliance around the county,” Vins said, “So I’m pretty happy with that. I think everyone’s trying to do their part. It’s great to see and these are the things we have to do to keep our community safe.”
Vins said they are also following up with the contacts of those confirmed cases. Additionally, they continue partnering with the local hospitals and with health districts in other counties, where those suspected cases have crossed county lines.
“Everything is working well,” Vins said. “I’m pleased with how things are evolving.”
The county health department closed its lobby to walk in traffic as of Tuesday morning and is only doing essential services geared toward the tracking of COVID-19 cases and assisting those county residents with emergencies only. They can still be contacted by telephone, fax or email.