Scioto County’s biggest COVID-19 concern is spread within nursing homes

By Ivy Potter - [email protected]

The Scioto County Commissioners met for their weekly meeting on Tuesday, joined by Scioto County Health Commissioner Dr. Michael Martin and Deputy Director of Scioto County Emergency Management Agency Larry Mullins.

Dr. Martin stated that with confirmed cases of COVID-19 now in Scioto County, his biggest concern is that the virus gets into a nursing home. “That’s where you see a loss of deaths, a lot of mortality across the nation. I know a lot of nursing homes have taken lots of steps to keep that from happening, but that’s my biggest concern right now,” said Martin.

Martin stated that Southern Ohio Medical Center 454 tests had been administered at the medical facility, with 445 resulted. Of those, 437 tests came back negative and eight tests were positive. Only four of those eight cases, however, were from Scioto County, with the others being residents of outside counties. Martin stated King’s Daughters Medical Center has tested over 1,000 people.

Martin said he has heard some concerns in regard to what happens to those who receive a positive COVID-19 diagnosis. “What happens is the epidemiologist who covers Scioto and Lawrence Counties gets that information and is the first to contact the patient. She is the one that makes the recommendation whether that person’s contacts need to be tested or quarantined, and that information is handed over to the respective health department,” said Martin. Martin stated nurses then follow up with the patients and check on them daily to make sure they are okay, and have the neccessary supplies to remain isolated. Martin added that these nurses explain quarantine procedures to the patients.

Larry Mullins of Scioto County EMA echoed Martin’s concerns regarding long term care facilities, and stated that the agency fears not having enough personal protection equipment to provide to nursing homes should an outbreak occur.

In regards to when things will return to normal, Martin stated we are still far away from an end. “The first thing that is going to have to happen is quick testing with rapid turn around like flu testing, the hospitals are working on that right now. Their testing times now are between two and five days with these different labs and hospitals they are working with,” Martin says the first patient tested for COVID-19 waited on results for 13 days, so times are improving. Martin said treatment is the next priority, with a vaccine also necessary to fully combat the virus. “The experts say that 12-18 months away, this is going to be with us for a long period of time. I think we’re going to have to continue doing the things we’re doing now with physical distancing, washing your hands, and staying home when you are sick.”

Both Martin and Mullins stated they are not yet satisfied with current levels of testing locally and said that while SOMC has the necessary machines for rapid testing but do not yet have the reactant which would allow for 45-minute testing turnaround.

Commissioners stated that their own concerns sit with the people of Scioto County, and stated while they don’t yet know what the future looks like they were preparing locally to act on orders whenever they are handed down to reopen the economy while considering the risk of public health in the meantime.

In other matters of business, Commissioners adopted a resolution regarding the Scioto County employee COVID-19 policy, and a resolution establishing a fund for Earl Thomas Conley Park improvement.

By Ivy Potter

[email protected]

Reach: Ivy Potter (740) 353-3101 Extension 1932

© 2020 Portsmouth Daily Times, all rights reserved

Reach: Ivy Potter (740) 353-3101 Extension 1932

© 2020 Portsmouth Daily Times, all rights reserved