SCIOTO- The Scioto County Health Department and Portsmouth City Health Department reported a significant increase of confirmed coronavirus cases Monday, bringing the number to 607 since the beginning of the outbreak Apr. 4.
During the weekend, 32 cases were reported bringing the active total to 119, which Scioto County Emergency Management Agency Director Larry Mullins said was the highest active total for the county through the pandemic.
Fearing citizens putting their guard down, Mullins asked for residents to commit to safety measures such as wearing masks and social distancing.
“I think people are tired and have started to stop following the guidelines,” said Mullins, the large increase in cases causing SCHD to request no longer separating the number of men and women with the coronavirus. “We’ve seen a lot of cases over the past few weeks.”
Commenters on the Scioto EMA post claimed the increase was due to permission for the Lucasville Trade Days to proceed between Sept. 25 and 27. Unlike other events such as the Fourth of July celebration, Trade Days received the go-ahead since it was designated as a farmers market by the Ohio Department of Agriculture.
According to the news release and PCHD Interim Administrator Belinda Leslie however, none of the cases were believed to be traced back to one event, but rather through community spread.
Upgraded to Level 3 again on Sept. 24, most days since have been more than 14 new cases per count and nearly 100 have been added to the overall count. With cases increasing at a larger rate, the county’s status as a Level 3 public health emergency is not believed to be subject of change to a Level 4 this week.
In order to reach Level 4, six to seven indicators of the Ohio Public Health Advisory System must be meet for two consecutive weeks. At this level, which the Ohio Department of Health defines as “severe exposure and spread,” residents of these counties are asked to only leave their homes for supplies and services.
Sitting at Level 3, the county fit the following four indicators as of Oct. 1, according to the ODH advisory system:
- New cases per capita: 107.55 cases per 100,000 in the county, which is more than the flagged measure of 50 cases per 100,000 over the past two weeks.
- New cases increase: Demonstrating an increasing trend of at least five consecutive days over the past three weeks between Sept. 18 and 23.
- Non-congregate cases: Signifying the extent of community spread, the county has had three consecutive weeks where more than 50% are not from congregate settings (such as Trade Days). The latest measure, conducted between Sept. 23 and 29, found 83% of cases were from non-congregate locations.
- Outpatient visits: Flagged if increasing trend of at least five consecutive days in the number of people going to a health care provider with COVID symptoms who then receive a COVID confirmed or suspected diagnosis over the last three weeks. This occurred twice in the county between Sept. 9 and 16 and Sept. 19 and 26.
If the county meets at least two more indicators- sustained increase in new COVID hospital admissions, intensive care unit bed occupancy, or emergency department visits-this week, it will be placed on a watchlist for Level 4.
There were two additional hospitalizations reported since last Friday bringing the total to 53 people that have been hospitalized, during the outbreak, in connection with the virus or found to have the virus during their admission for other medical reasons. This number does not represent the number of people currently in the hospital in connection with COVID-19.
The health departments urge everyone to please wear a mask in public, continue to practice good hygiene, and continue to social distance. Please do your part to slow the spread.
Reach Patrick Keck (740)-353-3501 ext. 1931, by email at firstname.lastname@example.org, or on Twitter @pkeckreporter.
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