By: Rebecca Miller
Sadly, Williams County, Ohio was recently sent a few press releases via social media and the newspapers, that a death has occurred due to the coronavirus and that an employee at Corrections Center of NW Ohio (CCNO) has tested positive.
On the Friday morning Press conference call, Williams County Health Commissioner James Watkins said in answer to a question, that information concerning new cases, or deaths, is being released immediately, as soon as they are sure that all the facts are correct. It is put on their website asap.
As of April 17, 2020, the day of the call, Williams County had four Lab Confirmed cases, two who were probable (totaling six cases in the county that day), three hospitalizations total and one death as of April 16, 2020.In surrounding counties, Hillsdale had nine deaths, and Steuben and DeKalb had one death each. For up to date numbers, readers should go online to williamscountyhealth.org, cdc.gov or coronavirus.ohio.gov.
Health Commissioner Watkins shared that the Health Department is continuing to do press releases, answer business enquiries and are also participating with the EMA. He encouraged the public to continue social distancing and staying home, particularly since the county now has had the death of a resident, as “the efforts and decisions of each individual in the community affect public health.”
He stated that as May 1st approaches, and Governor DeWine has been stating that they are working on a plan for Phase 2, the details will be announced in the coming weeks. “It was emphasized that life will not return to normal for a while. There will be many thoughtful decisions on what Ohio must do to prevent further spread of the virus in the future,” Watkins said.
He stressed that as orders are “relaxed” people need to continue hand washing, cough hygiene, social distancing, cleaning surfaces, wearing masks in public and not gathering to keep off another outbreak.
EMA Deputy Director April McClaine reported that they are working in cooperation with the Health Department, they have had the Virtual EOC open for a few weeks, and they are holding regular phone meetings every week with about twelve agencies. They are also working on requests from health care, such as forwarding needs to the state for PPE.
President Chad Tinkel from the hospital in Bryan shared that the hospital has, as of April 16, 2020, done seventy four COVID-19 tests with seventy of those negative, two positive and two pending. The hospital has adequate goggles, face shields and most N-95 masks.
They have a critical supply of one size of N-95 masks, a 3M 1860 Small, which means less than a weeks supply, but are currently fit-testing staff for other models. They are also utilizing the decontamination unit with Battelle and plan to utilize the Daavlin machine, which was purchased by the County Commissioners, as soon as it is approved by the FDA or they are designated to be in crisis mode.
The hospital continues to screen everyone at the door, taking temperature and asking about symptoms and possible contact with others. They have also set up a “travel path” in the building.
Per the Governor’s desire for a slow opening, he has request that hospitals look at four criteria. The governor acknowledged the need for delayed or deferred procedures to begin again in Ohio hospitals, and asked for a plan that is mindful of PPE and testing shortages as well as general COVID-19 precautions. The four criteria, from the hospitals, that the governor is weighing before he would alter the current restrictions are:
- A sustained, trending decrease in the number of COVID-19 positive cases
- Adequate PPE and staffing for first responders and healthcare workers
- Appropriate testing resources including– Both antibody and swab tests and Laboratory capacity for processing of tests
- Appropriate resources and personnel available for contact tracing
Chasity Yoder from United Way shared that they have begun reaching out to individuals who are making cloth masks. The Health Department asked United Way if they would be willing to start taking care of this aspect of self care for the county. They are collecting them and making them available to businesses and individuals who need them.
As these masks are not used by Health Care personnel, due to the need for a specific kind for them, they can be used by the community in general. For those in need of a cloth mask, call 419-636-8603 and they will work that out with you as to how to get one. EMA is also willing to help with the gathering of the masks.
Yoder also related that they have funds specifically designated for COVID relief, for those agencies who are helping individuals who are affected by the virus. They are also staying connected with Keeping a Renewed Mind hotline.
Concerning the possibility of a CCNO inmate testing positively, Watkins explained that the case would be considered a Williams County case, no matter where they are from, as this is their present address.
At this point there is only the one case, being the employee, and Watkins wants the public to know that they get all new information on the website by 2:00 each day, so it that changes, it would be posted.
Rebecca can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
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Source: The Village Reporter