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Salem has most COVID cases with 99

LISBON — Salem area residents have led the county with nearly a third of the COVID-19 cases not linked to either a long-term care facility or the FCI-Elkton prison. Additionally, nearly all the long-term care facility cases also came from the 44460 zip code.

The county health department released figures on Wednesday, breaking down the cases in the county into congregate (FCI-Elkton and long-term care facility cases) and those from the rest of the county. The information showed how many of the 319 non-congregate cases came from each zip code.

The Salem area led the way so far with 99 cases with 37 of those health care workers. Columbiana followed with 44 cases including 14 health care workers. Lisbon has had 34 cases, followed by the East Liverpool area with 31 cases, Leetonia with 29 and East Palestine with 21.

In a separate grouping release, the health department stated there were 580 FCI-Elkton inmates which were all listed as having the zip code 44432 for Lisbon/Elkton. Additionally, there were 79 long-term care residents from the 44460 or Salem area and one from the East Palestine area.

While case numbers by zip code were requested early on, county health commissioner Wes Vins was reluctant when there were only a few cases in the area, concerned identifying the zip codes could jeopardize the privacy for the patients. At this point, Vins said, it is apparent the coronavirus can be found throughout the county and everyone needs to be following the guidelines.

“We don’t want to over focus on the number of cases in our community or local zip code and correlate that with our risk,” Vins said. “I think we need to recognize the risk of contracting the virus across the county is present.”

Instead. Vins said. there are other things to consider such as how much testing has been done in that area as opposed to other areas in the county.

With the Ohio National Guard doing some additional testing at long-term care facilities this week and the pop-up testing available at the Community Action Agency next week, Vins said we can expect to see the case numbers in this county continue to rise. However, it will allow those positive cases to be quarantined and tracked better when people know that is what they are facing.

Vins said he wants to remind people that bingo and festivals are still on the list of closed events in the state of Ohio. Additionally, as Fourth of July celebrations are bound to happen, Vins said he wants people to remember to social distance, watch fireworks from their own back porch or from inside their vehicle and wear masks at all gatherings.

The state listed Columbiana County with 984 cases, which is an increase of one case from Tuesday, 144 hospitalizations and 60 deaths. However, the county health department records show 58 reported deaths at this point.

Numbers released by Ohio on testing show that 92,910 tests by state, private and hospital labs have been conducted across the state from June 16-22. Results show 4.5 percent or 4,184 tested positive. The Ohio numbers have increased to 46,759 cases with 7,447 hospitalizations and 2,755 deaths. The Ohio Hospital Association reports 592 are currently hospitalized across the state, which is the highest number in two weeks.

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