As of Friday, Highland County has had a total of 249 lab-confirmed and probable COVID-19 cases, according to the Highland County Health Department.
In a previous Facebook post, Highland County Health Commissioner Jared Warner stated that probable cases must “[meet] clinical criteria AND epidemiologic evidence with no confirmatory laboratory testing performed for COVID-19” or “[meet] presumptive laboratory evidence AND either clinical criteria OR epidemiologic evidence.”
As of Friday, the health department had documented 21 probable cases in Highland County since the pandemic began.
The health department also reported that as of Friday there were currently 12 actively sick patients and two COVID-19-related hospitalizations, and the health department is currently monitoring 66 people for symptoms.
Since the COVID-19 outbreak reached Highland County, there have been a total of 26 COVID-19-related hospitalizations and four COVID-19-related deaths, and 223 patients have recovered from COVID-19.
In a Friday Facebook post to the health department’s page, Warner explained that the health department reported the fourth COVID-19-related death in Highland County nearly two weeks after the patient’s death due to the process involved in confirming that the death was related to COVID-19.
“When a person dies in a hospital setting,” Warner wrote, “the doctor completes a death certificate report which lists the specific cause of death, including the other underlying factors and led to that person’s death. It can often take several days before this documentation from the doctor is completed. The death records and death certificate then becomes available to local health departments. If the death occurred outside of Highland County, further time is needed for the COVID-19 death report to reach us.
“The Highland County Health Department will not count a COVID-19 death in our local reports until we have a copy of that death certificate and we can read the specifics of the case. In the past, we have also called the physician directly to ask for more detail on the death certificate. This can sometimes lead to a long delay in reporting locally, even when we may feel certain that a death is going to be categorized as a COVID-19 death. This is the doctor’s decision, and we won’t be saying anything until all the ink is dry.”
According to the Ohio Department of Health (ODH), which reported 227 cases in the county to date as of Friday, of the cases in Highland County:
* 39 cases involved 50- to 59-year-olds, three of whom were hospitalized.
* 37 cases involved 40- to 49-year-olds, three of whom were hospitalized.
* 35 cases involved 70- to 79-year-olds, eight of whom were hospitalized and one of whom later died.
* 34 cases involved 60- to 69-year-olds, five of whom were hospitalized and one of whom later died.
* 31 cases involved 20- to 29-year-olds, one of whom was hospitalized.
* 25 cases involved 30- to 39-year-olds, one of whom was hospitalized.
* 19 cases involved 0- to 19-year-olds, one of whom was hospitalized.
* Six cases involved someone 80 years old or older, four of whom were hospitalized and two of whom later died.
* One case involved someone of an unknown age range.
As of Thursday, Highland County remains at a level 1 public emergency, which represents active COVID-19 exposure and spread.
Nearby, the ODH upgraded Pike and Scioto counties to level 3 emergencies, which represent very high exposure and spread, on Thursday. The ODH recommends that residents and those visiting level 3 counties limit activities as much as possible.
In mid-July, the ODH upgraded Highland County to a level 2 public emergency, which represents increased COVID-19 exposure and spread. The county remained a level 2 public emergency until Aug. 20, when it returned to a level 1 rating.
For more information about ODH’s public health advisory system, visit coronavirus.ohio.gov/wps/portal/gov/covid-19/public-health-advisory-system/.
In news from the office of Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine, according to a Thursday press release:
* DeWine announced two new health orders that will allow indoor visitation at nursing homes, assisted living facilities, and intermediate care facilities in Ohio.
According to the press release, nursing homes and assisted living facilities can begin allowing indoor visitation on Monday, Oct. 12, though such visitation should only resume if these facilities can meet certain safety standards. The state will release these standards in a future public health order.
Intermediate care facilities for those with developmental disabilities can resume indoor visitation beginning on Monday, Sept. 28, if safety standards outlined in the order are met.
According to ODH, as of Wednesday, Crestwood Nursing Home has had one case of COVID-19 involving a resident and two cases involving staff; Edgewood Manor has had one case of COVID-19 involving a resident and one case involving a staff member; Heartland of Hillsboro has had two COVID-19 cases involving staff; and the Laurels of Hillsboro has had two COVID-19 cases involving staff.
* ODH Interim Director Lance Himes signed an order on Wednesday that began reversing some of the dine-in restrictions on restaurants, bars and banquet and catering services.
The order, which went into effect on Thursday, allows restaurants, bars and catering services to reopen for full dine-in service.
According to the order, tables are limited to 10 people, banquet and catering facilities are limited to 300 people, customers must remain seated while consuming food and beverages, and customers and employees must continue to observe social distancing and sanitation guidelines.
The ODH still requires that customers, employees and others who enter these establishments wear face coverings.
However, live entertainment is permitted and “open congregate areas” — including pool tables, arcade games, dancing and entertainment — are permitted to reopen. Establishments are also permitted to resume the use of self-service food stations.
“The sacrifices and incredible efforts that Ohioans have undertaken make it possible to begin to lift the mandatory requirements and restrictions that were needed during the initial phase of the COVID-19 pandemic,” the order read.
* Lt. Governor Husted announced that the one-game-per-calendar-day limit on sports competitions has been removed from the previous sports order.
This change comes over a month after the most recent guidelines were published with evidence showing that events have gone on without any noticeable increase in spread.
For more information on COVID-19 in Ohio, visit coronavirus.ohio.gov.
Reach McKenzie Caldwell at 937-402-2570.