Retreat issues still being probed with tests


Officials are urging people who visited Long’s Retreat Family Resort recently to contact local health departments in an effort to identify the currently unknown illness that is seemingly linked to the Pike County park.

But a Long’s Retreat official said Wednesday all tests at the resort have come back negative, showing no bacteria.

During Wednesday’s session of the Highland County Commissioners, health commissioner Jared Warner said that his department is among several organizations handling that outbreak.

Warner said in a news released issued later Wednedsay that the Highland County Health Department is working with the Pike County General Health District in its investigation into numerous reports of nausea, vomiting and diarrhea from individuals who recently visited Long’s Retreat Family Resort. During the outbreak investigation, the Highland County Health Department has identified 60 individuals with symptoms, and the Pike County General Health District has identified approximately 140 individuals with symptoms.

At this time, the Pike County General Health District has received 10 lab results of individuals who tested positive for Shigella. The highest onset of those reporting symptoms occurred between July 10-14. The source of the Shigella has not been determined, and additional samples are being tested to confirm that Shigella is responsible for this outbreak, the news release said.

Shigellosis is a diarrheal disease caused by a group of bacteria called Shigella, which is spread easily from person to person, and can also be spread by contaminated food and water,” the news release said. “Most people who are infected with Shigella develop diarrhea, fever, and stomach cramps starting a day or two after they are exposed to the bacteria. Shigellosis usually resolves in five to seven days. Some people who are infected may have no symptoms at all, but may still pass the Shigella bacteria to others. Every year, there are about 500,000 cases of shigellosis in the United States.

“The best way to prevent the further spread of Shigella is to wash your hands with soap and warm running water after using the restroom, before cooking and eating, or getting your hands dirty. If you work in food service, childcare, health care, or other jobs where you come into close contact with food or people, you should not go to work if you are sick. Shigella can continue to be spread for up to a month after symptoms disappear, so proper hand washing is important. It is also important not to go swimming if you have diarrhea or have had diarrhea in the past two days. Swimming while you have diarrhea can lead to the spread of Shigella and other illnesses.”

Warner said that Ohio has a system which alerts health departments when there is a spike in lumped systems.

To contact the Highland County Health Department, call 937-393-1941.

Commissioners also passed a resolution concerning a levy to support Highland County Children Services.

As previously reported, commissioners unanimously voted to place a 1.9-mil property tax levy on the ballot in November. The five-year levy would cost the owner of a $100,000 property $59.85 per year.

Following Wednesday’s resolution, the levy will now go to the Highland County Board of Elections.

Commissioners also passed a resolution in which the Highland County Department of Job and Family Services requested an inter-county agreement and certification release and acceptance of funds in the amount of $25,000.

Also on Wednesday, commissioner Shane Wilkin discussed recent meetings at the Leesburg and Greenfield industrial parks. He said there is a “very good chance” that the Leesburg park will be one of the first certified through a state program.

Wilkin said there are still a “couple more things we have to get through” before the Greenfield Industrial Park can be certified.

Wilkin also said that last Thursday commissioners met with county employers during a round table. This is the second of these monthly meetings, which Wilkin said have a “casual setting” and are “very open.”

“I thought the discussion was really good among companies,” Wilkin added. Another meeting is scheduled for next month.

“It’s a good thing to let the manufacturers know what’s going on and what’s available,” he said.

Commissioner Tom Horst added, “Almost everyone at the table was looking for employees. There are jobs out there.”

Commissioner Jeff Duncan said that a meeting between himself, Highland County Sheriff Donnie Barrera, and AT&T ended with the company looking into fiber transmissions for the phone system at the Justice Center. Duncan said AT&T will “get back with us” on that upgrade.

Duncan also said that he and Horst met with Highland County Engineer Dean Otworth concerning water erosion problems at the Justice Center’s parking lot. Horst said the engineer’s office took care of that issue “this week.”

Wilkin said the work is a “testament to the cooperation among departments.”

Also during Wednesday’s session, Highland County Auditor Bill Fawley provided permissive sales tax receipts. The permissive sales tax receipt totals are from sales taxes collected in the county in a given month. July’s receipts totaled at $571,896. That figure is higher than last year’s, which was $522,072, according to a material provided by Fawley.

Commissioners also discussed recycling drop-offs in the city of Hillsboro. They said the former Brad’s Garden Center site is no longer a drop-off site. Two others remain in the city, including one on Catherine Street and one at the Hi-Tech Center. Commissioners said they are currently looking for another location.

Wednesday marked the bid opening for a handicap ramp outside of the Highland County Administration Building. There are currently no bids for that project.

Pictured during Wednesday’s meeting are Highland County commissioners, from left, Jeff Duncan, Shane Wilkin and Tom Horst. during Wednesday’s meeting are Highland County commissioners, from left, Jeff Duncan, Shane Wilkin and Tom Horst.
Reported illness possibly related to Shigella

By Sarah Allen

For The Times-Gazette

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