Local health departments are receiving more detailed planning for mass COVID-19 vaccination efforts, Highland County Health Commissioner Jared Warner reported in a Friday post to the health department’s Facebook page.
“There are A LOT of questions about what this will look like, including questions about how much public interest there will be in getting this vaccine,” Warner wrote. “Regardless of the final details, we should all understand that vaccines will be focused initially on high-risk occupations and high-risk individuals. It will likely be quite some time before we have enough vaccine available to truly do mass vaccination clinics that are open to the public.”
In school-related updates, Warner reported that he received a call earlier this week that parents were dropping off quarantined students at “a sports practice,” which Warner called frustrating.
“Quarantine means that you do not interact with people outside of your household!” Warner wrote. “Our local coaches and athletic directors have been working very hard to keep their seasons going and to follow the very difficult rules in place for sporting events in Ohio. This kind of thing jeopardizes all of that hard work.
“I can’t name the players for coaches to pull from practice due to our health privacy rules, and coaches may not know the athletes that are supposed to be quarantined. I only have one option in situations like this, since I can’t name individual students. Practice is canceled, everyone goes home. If it happens in a game, the game is over, everyone goes home. I don’t want to do this! Parents, cut this nonsense out. Making selfish decisions like this could mean that the whole team gets sent home, or even becomes quarantined themselves, because your player was there when they shouldn’t have been. Quarantine is hard and we all hate doing it, but we are asking for personal sacrifice for the sake of our neighbors and our communities.”
Warner also requested on behalf of the health department’s nursing staff that parents do not need to call the health department to find out if their child will be quarantined.
“With the school quarantine process, we have been getting a lot of calls from parents asking if their child is going to end up being quarantined or not,” Warner wrote. “Please, don’t call us to ask this. We will contact all impacted parents to let them know directly if the quarantine applies to your family.”
In other Covid-related news, beginning Monday, Nov. 2, Ohio families with children enrolled in Individualized Education Programs (IEP) will be able to apply for up to $1,500 in grant funding, according to a news release from the office of Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine.
DeWine announced Thursday that the Ohio Department of Developmental Disabilities is partnering with DeWine’s Children’s Initiative to provide financial support to families who may need supplemental assistance outside of their child’s IEP.
The administration launched Learning Aid Ohio, a supplemental tutoring program that can help connect families with tutors, aides, or in-home providers who can offer distance learning support for students with disabilities in IEPs.
“The primary goal of Learning Aid Ohio is to provide opportunities for meaningful educational experiences for students on IEPs learning full-time on a digital platform,” the news release stated.
For more information or to submit applications, visit learningohio.com.
The following are Highland County’s overall COVID-19 statistics as of Friday:
Highland County has had a total of 571 lab-confirmed and probable COVID-19 cases, according to the Highland County Health Department.
The health department reported that there were 188 actively sick patients and seven COVID-19-related hospitalizations, and the health department is monitoring 515 Highland County residents for symptoms.
Since the COVID-19 outbreak reached Highland County, there have been a total of 41 COVID-19-related hospitalizations and 12 COVID-19-related deaths, and 407 patients have recovered from COVID-19.
As of Thursday, Highland County remained a “red” county with high case incidence, according to the Ohio Public Health Advisory System (OPHAS).
“Red” counties, which OPHAS also classifies as level 3 public emergencies, have “very high” COVID-19 exposure and spread.
According to OPHAS, Highland County has had 134 new COVID-19 cases in the last two weeks.
Across the state, the number of new COVID-19 cases continues to rise. On Thursday, DeWine noted that the state had seen a record number of new cases in a 24-hour period, during which Ohio health officials reported 3,590 new positive cases — 700 more cases than the previous highest increase reported within 24 hours.
According to OPHAS, 43 out of 88 Ohio counties are currently rated as “red” counties as of Thursday. Last week, 38 counties were “red.”
Health officials continue to urge Ohioans to maintain social distancing, wear face coverings and practice regular hand-washing and sanitizing.
As of Friday, the Highland County Health Department reported the following statistics for Highland County nursing homes:
* Heartland of Hillsboro had 32 active COVID-19 cases involving residents and five involving staff members.
* The Laurels of Hillsboro had 39 active cases involving residents and 20 involving staff members.
* Crestwood Ridge Skilled Nursing & Rehabilitation had six cases involving residents. As of Friday, Crestwood does not have any cases involving staff members.
According to Ohio Department of Health (ODH), which reported 557 cases in the county as of Wednesday, of the cases in Highland County:
* 94 cases involved 60- to 69-year-olds, eight who were hospitalized and two who later died.
* 84 cases involved 50- to 59-year-olds, seven who were hospitalized.
* 77 cases involved 40- to 49-year-olds, five who were hospitalized.
* 76 cases involved 70- to 79-year-olds, 13 who were hospitalized and two who later died.
* 66 cases involved 20- to 29-year-olds, one who was hospitalized.
* 59 cases involved 0- to 19-year-olds, one who was hospitalized.
* 51 cases involved someone 80 years old or older, six who were hospitalized and five who later died.
* 48 cases involved 30- to 39-year-olds, one 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 the ODH.
Reach McKenzie Caldwell at 937-402-2570.