During a Facebook Live news conference Thursday, Highland County Health Commissioner Jared Warner had good news, reporting that of the county’s’ seven total coronavirus cases, six were now in the recovery stage while one still remained hospitalized.
“What this means is that those seven who were originally sick, six of them have been sick and symptomatic at least seven days, and then have gone 72 hours without symptoms,” Warner said. “We still have the one in the hospital, but I think it shows we’re moving in the right direction.”
Warner was joined on the split-screen stream by Highland County Emergency Operations Center Public Information Officer Lt. Branden Jackman for the one-hour briefing, which covered a broad range of topics sent in from area viewers.
The subjects discussed ranged from guidance and concerns of using and sterilizing protective cloth masks to private donations of personal protective equipment (PPE) to the Emergency Operations Center.
Jackman said that anyone with masks or other PPE could donate them to the emergency operations center by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Another concern was raised regarding COVID-19 infiltration into nursing homes.
“If you go back to March 3 when we first met with the commissioners, that was one of our first talking points — we need to protect our high risk population,” Warner said. “We’ve been in constant contact with our nursing homes and long-term care facilities, along with home health agencies, and we’ve been working with them from the beginning.”
Touching on what Jackman called a “hot button topic,” one viewer posted that Ohio Health Director Dr. Amy Acton’s projections fell well below expectations, writing that “the numbers are off over 100,000” and “why aren’t we opening businesses?”
“The models are only as good as the assumptions you build into them,” Warner said. “We’ve got two things happening at the same time: better information so we can build better models, and because we implemented social distancing across the country.”
In his daily news conference Thursday from Columbus, Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine indicated that he was looking at what he described as a phased-opening of business operations and activities on May 1.
With that in mind, Jackman had some advice for Highland County residents when the stay at home order is eventually lifted.
“When things start to open back up, people have been cooped up for so long that we’re asking everyone to use caution,” Jackman said. “We don’t want people running to Kenwood Mall, or even venturing into the larger cities or neighboring counties that harbor larger populations since they’ve seen a spike in their cases, so we don’t want folks going to Cincinnati just because they can.”
He said there still should be a degree of restraint and a gradual “easing into this” when things opened back up to prevent bringing any lingering COVID-19 back into Highland County.
Jackman said the Facebook Live sessions will continue into the foreseeable future every Thursday at 12:30 p.m.
Reach Tim Colliver at 937-402-2571.