Covid cases jump in Columbiana County due to clerical issue

LISBON — Although Covid-19 numbers are rising due to the Delta variant throughout the state, they are not rising locally at this time. However 60 new cases which all showed up at once on the state website did cause some initial alarm recently.

During Wednesday’s Columbiana County Board of Health meeting, Medical Services Administrator Jamie Elenz said they were surprised when 60 cases appeared for Columbiana County overnight recently. After investigating it, the numbers were found to actually be from a five-month time period starting in March and continuing through that date when they all appeared.

Elenz said it was determined to be a glitch, where the new case numbers from one healthcare provider in the area were not uploading to the state’s system and then all appeared at once.

In actuality, Elenz said there were only 12 new coronavirus cases in Columbiana County in June and 16 new cases so far in July, bringing the total cases to 9,165 since the beginning of the pandemic. There have been 508 hospitalized and 236 deaths. At this point, 8,881 county residents, who once tested positive for Covid-19, are presumed recovered.

Board member David Rose said some people believe the virus pandemic is over.

However, with county vaccination numbers lower than the state average, Health Commissioner Wes Vins voiced a concern about a future rise in cases here in Columbiana County. Currently, Vins said other counties with only a 35 percent vaccination rate are seeing upticks right now from the Delta variant. Even if it is not the Delta variant other variants will most likely keep coming down the road.

In an effort to reach out and get more residents to consider vaccination, the health department has put out a public service announcement, which is currently linked to the health department’s website and Facebook page.

Public Information Director Laura Fauss credited the health department’s partners on the Columbiana County Vaccination Task Force, including the East Liverpool City Hospital and the Community Action Agency with helping to film the two-minute video urging people to not only get vaccinated against Covid-19, but not to forget other necessary vaccinations to keep their family healthy. A 30-second commercial based on the same message is also planned.

Although the Delta variant is reportedly more contagious than the previous version of the virus, Fauss said preliminary data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention suggests that over the last few months 99.5 percent of all Covid-19 cases in the U.S. occurred among unvaccinated people.

There are still currently Janssen (J&J), Moderna and Pfizer vaccines available throughout the county. In order to find one, residents can visit the county health department’s website at www.columbiana-health.org or the Ohio Department of health’s website at www.gettheshot.coronavirus.ohio.gov or call 211.

Elenz said the health department will be at the county fair the first week in August and will be providing free Johnson and Johnson vaccinations, which is the one-dose vaccine. However, the only Covid-19 vaccine approved for children 12 and up is the Pfizer vaccine.

Additionally, Elenz urges parents to get started getting their children’s other vaccines up to date, including for back to school. Appointments will be available at the county health department as soon as next week.

Throughout the state and county, Elenz said routine vaccinations for babies, school age children and adolescence have fallen behind.


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