Despite Highland County’s current status as a “red” county with “very high” risk of COVID-19 exposure and spread with two new additional deaths, trick or treat will go on, health commissioner Jared Warner stated in a Monday Facebook post to the Highland County Health Department’s page.
“I have gotten lots of questions recently about whether Trick or Treat is allowed this year based on our current Red designation and increased risk level,” Warner wrote. “If we look at the primary risk factors in a majority of our Highland County cases, we find prolonged indoor close contact with other people at locations such as weddings, funerals, work settings, at family get-togethers, and similar settings. Trick or Treat is primarily outdoors, with distance between people, and our interactions at each stop tend to be very brief. This type of activity can be low risk but not entirely risk-free. Parents will have to decide if they are comfortable with accepting these risks or not. We are encouraging people to back up, wash up, mask up, and to enjoy your trick or treat evening if you decide to go out.”
Trick or treat is set for Thursday, Oct. 29 from 6-8 p.m. around most of the county.
The Ohio Department of Health (ODH) recommended that parents and trick-or-treaters limit the number of stops they make, maintain social distancing, and frequently sanitize their hands while trick-or-treating. ODH also recommended that parents avoid accepting homemade treats from strangers and sanitize wrapped candy with sanitizing wipes before giving it to their children.
In other local Covid-related news:
* Warner reported two additional COVID-19-related deaths in Highland County. He did not release any additional information as of press time.
* Warner announced Monday that the health department will be closed to the public on Thursday from 11:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. for a staff meeting and training purposes.
The health department will also be closed on Friday, Oct. 30 due to the pop-up testing event.
* Warner stated that health department staff worked through new school cases, additional long term care clusters, and school athletic team exposures over the weekend.
He reported that the health department is working through clusters of cases associated with “some” large, out-of-county businesses. Warner did not release any additional information regarding those businesses as of press time.
The following are the number of active COVID-19 cases in Highland County nursing homes as of Monday:
* Heartland of Hillsboro had 41 cases involving residents and 21 involving staff members.
* The Laurels of Hillsboro had 52 cases involving residents and six involving staff members.
* Crestwood Ridge Skilled Nursing & Rehabilitation had six cases involving residents. Crestwood had no reported staff cases as of Monday.
The following are Highland County’s overall COVID-19 statistics as of Monday:
Highland County has had a total of 521 lab-confirmed and probable COVID-19 cases, according to the Highland County Health Department.
In a previous Facebook post, 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.”
The health department has documented a total of 35 probable cases in Highland County.
The health department reported that there were currently 114 actively sick patients and five COVID-19-related hospitalizations, and the health department is currently monitoring 341 Highland County residents for symptoms.
Since the COVID-19 outbreak reached Highland County, there have been a total of 40 COVID-19-related hospitalizations and 12 COVID-19-related deaths, and 395 patients have recovered from COVID-19.
According to ODH, which reported 475 cases in the county as of Monday, of the cases in Highland County:
* 78 cases involved 60- to 69-year-olds, seven of whom were hospitalized and one of who later died.
* 70 cases involved 70- to 79-year-olds, 13 of whom were hospitalized and one of who later died.
* 69 cases involved 50- to 59-year-olds, seven of whom were hospitalized.
* 65 cases involved 40- to 49-year-olds, four of whom were hospitalized.
* 61 cases involved 20- to 29-year-olds, one of whom was hospitalized.
* 46 cases involved 0- to 19-year-olds, one of whom was hospitalized.
* 43 cases involved someone 80 years old or older, six of who were hospitalized and four of who later died.
* 41 cases involved 30- to 39-year-olds, one of who was hospitalized.
* Two cases involved someone of an unknown age.
Warner previously stated that there is a delay in the reporting process between individual counties and ODH.
Reach McKenzie Caldwell at 937-402-2570.