The McClain student who was tested for COVID-19 last week and his family received good news on Friday when the test results came back negative, according to Highland County Emergency Operations Center Public Information Officer Branden Jackman.
Jackman thanked the Greenfield community for its patience after the results were delayed on Wednesday due to the high volume of tests.
Though Greenfield students and those in contact with them who have been in quarantine since Thursday have since been released, Jackman said community members still need to take precautions to help flatten the curve, or decrease the number of people who are exposed to and contract coronavirus.
“We’re very glad the test came back negative, but we’ve got somewhere in the neighborhood of 10-plus tests pending throughout the county. There’s a constant flux of tests coming and going,” Jackman said. “Even though we had a good outcome in the Greenfield area, it’s important to remember that we still need to wash those hands, cover that cough, don’t touch that face, practice social distancing, and stay home if you’re sick.”
On Friday, Ohio Governor Mike DeWine announced that the state saw its first coronavirus-related death in Lucas County. As of Friday afternoon, there were 169 confirmed cases of coronavirus in 28 Ohio counties. Thirty-nine Ohioans have been hospitalized.
“I think we will see additional fatalities in the coming days as deaths are attributed to COVID-19,” Jackman said. “They were projecting that the number of confirmed cases was going to double every six days — it almost doubled in two days. We were at 88 confirmed cases two days ago.”
Jackman said that he believes one reason the number of confirmed cases doubled so quickly is due to testing beginning to catch up to cases that were already there.
DeWine said on Twitter on Friday that the illness onset date for the currently confirmed cases ranges from Feb. 7 to March 18.
Highland County still doesn’t have a confirmed case.
Jackman said there are many reasons why state and local officials encouraging taking aggressive preventative steps.
“They all reference back to the 1918 Spanish Flu epidemic, where two different cities handled it completely differently. St. Louis, Mo. locked down; Philadelphia, Pa. had a parade. St. Louis managed to flatten the curve. Philadelphia killed a lot of people,” Jackman said. “A huge spike equates to death because it overwhelms the medical system. Not only that, but the health care system ends up taking care of nothing but the spike, and if you’re involved in a car wreck or you have problems with your blood sugar or your mom has a heart attack, the resources aren’t there to take care of the regular emergencies. It’s not only a matter of managing the curve of the 2019 coronavirus — we have to manage everything else that goes on as well.
“When we see this through, I’d much rather be on the other side saying, ‘You know what, guys? Sorry, we overreacted a little bit,’ instead of getting to the end of this and saying, ‘Guys, we didn’t do enough, and I’m sorry.’ We don’t want to be there. We don’t want the hundreds of sick and dead. New York sheltered in place today. We don’t want that in Ohio.”
As of Friday, Jackman said that the Highland County medical system hasn’t seen a huge spike in people going to local hospitals and emergency departments out of concern that they may have coronavirus, but he said that when the virus eventually comes to Highland County, those who are concerned they may have contracted the coronavirus should call their doctors and emergency rooms before going in.
“If you’re sick and can manage your symptoms on your own, stay home. If you get to the point where you can’t manage your fever or you feel like you’re having more shortness of breath than you did and you can’t manage it anymore, then call your doctor,” Jackman said. “We’re stressing that people should call any health care provider first. Don’t just show up at the ER, don’t just show up at the fire station, don’t just show up at your doctor’s office. Call ahead.”
Jackman said calling ahead enables health care providers to not only advise their patients’ course of action, but to also keep their other patients safe.
“You’ve got sick and injured people in there who don’t need to be subjected to something like this on top of that,” he said.
Jackman also recommended that community members check things they hear or read about the coronavirus against information from sources like the Ohio Department of Health (odh.ohio.gov), the CDC (cdc.gov), and government officials like DeWine (governor.ohio.gov) before sharing them on social media. He said that he and other members of his team have been trying to correct false rumors throughout the community.
“Don’t just click and forward,” Jackman said. “That doesn’t help the situation.”
When it comes to protecting one another and the most vulnerable members of the community, maintaining good hygiene and social distancing practices are the best defense.
“I’m 46. If I get this coronavirus, I’m probably going to get a little sick, but it’s not going to be hateful. I’m probably going to survive it and go on,” Jackman said, “but I never want to face the day where I think I might have been responsible for causing the death of my 83-year-old mother. I’ve resigned myself to the fact that, until this is over, I’m not going to have personal contact with my mom. I’ll talk to her on the phone, but we have to take personal responsibility. We have to manage the social distancing and flatten that curve.”
Above all, Jackman encouraged community members to be kind to one another.
“If we get out to the other side of this and we’ve lost who we are, where are we at then?” Jackman said. “Before this is done, you’re probably going to know someone who had coronavirus. You don’t have to know them to be nice. We’re all human beings. Are you going to be able to look your neighbor in the eye once this is over? Did you help them or did you turn your back on them?”
Reach McKenzie Caldwell at 937-402-2570.