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County awaiting holiday’s impact on virus cases

LISBON — Coronavirus numbers remain high this week, although the county has had about the same number of new cases this week as last week, according to county Health Commissioner Wes Vins on Thursday.

Additionally, Vins pointed out we have not yet seen the impact of Thanksgiving. It has only been a week and Vins said those people exposed and contracting COVID-19 during Thanksgiving have only begun to feel symptoms. Vins said after getting symptoms, people will decide to test and it will take two to 10 days for the results of the tests to come back.

Columbiana County has had 773 new cases between Nov. 18 and Dec. 1. The county remains at level three, red, on the Ohio Public Health Advisory System meeting five of the seven indicators. Eight counties are now level four, purple, including nearby Stark, Portage and Summit. The majority of the counties in Ohio are level three red.

Vins noted we can still get in front of this, but people need to continue avoiding gatherings, wear their masks and wash their hands. While everyone is eagerly awaiting the vaccine, it was noted people need to continue doing the right things. The state has not released an exact date when the vaccine will arrive, Vins said. It is not known which vaccine it will be or how many will be available, but the planning group continues to prepare.

The drive-thru facility being constructed at the county fairgrounds is underway and Vins called it a valuable resource for the upcoming vaccinations, as well as future flu vaccines distributions. It was a combined effort with the county commissioners to get the project going and Vins said he can see it being used in the future.

As cases have risen and the county has had a lot more people in isolation and quarantine, it was noted there is a difference and the timeline can be longer than some realize.

After being tested a person needs to isolate themselves until the results come back and remain in isolation for about 10 days or until the symptoms have subsided. The exposed spouse or family members of someone who tests positive also needs to quarantine and the beginning of their 14 quarantine days may not begin until the end of the 10 days or symptoms of their sick family member.

Vins noted this sometimes is difficult for employers and others to understand that a family member of someone with coronavirus can be out 24 days. Additionally, the Center for Disease Controls announced it may be possible to reduce the quarantine time, however, Vins said the Ohio Department of Health has not yet adopted those guidelines.

The county health department continues to trace the contacts of all cases and the local hospitals have reduced non-emergency, elective surgeries. Both hospitals are currently able to handle the case loads.

Vins and public information coordinator Laura Fauss remind people the health department tries to get back to everyone leaving a message with a question within 24 to 36 hours. However, they want to encourage those with questions can also look at both the local health department website and the Ohio Department of Health website for information. Additionally, those living in Salem or East Liverpool or outside of Columbiana County are urged to call their local health department:

Salem city: 330-332-1616

East Liverpool city: 330-385-7900

Alliance city: 330-821-7373

Carroll County: 330-627-4866

Mahoning County: 330-270-2855

djohnson@mojonews.com

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