HCHD: ‘Encouraging’ decrease


Still high case numbers in Hillsboro nursing homes

By McKenzie Caldwell - mcaldwell@aimmediamidwest.com



The Highland County Health Department reported a slight decrease in the county’s COVID-19 numbers, which health commissioner Jared Warner called “encouraging” in a Monday post to the health department’s Facebook page.

Warner also stated that regional COVID-19-related hospitalizations continue to rise.

As the health department receives test results from last Friday’s pop-up testing event, however, the county’s numbers may once again rise.

The health department tested 163 individuals on Friday. As of Monday, final testing results were not available, but Warner reported that, so far, 15 individuals have tested positive.

These results were not included in Monday’s updated statistics.

“This will result in an additional increase in our local case count,” Warner wrote. “This is a good thing, as it lets us contact these sick people and to reduce additional cases connected to these people in the future. An increase in case count now hopefully means a reduction in future cases.”

However, Warner added that the positivity rate should not be used as an indicator of positivity rates within the county.

“People who have symptoms are much more likely to seek testing,” Warner wrote, “so this testing event is much more likely to result in positive COVID-19 cases than a random sampling of the community would produce.”

In other local Covid-related news, Election Day is Tuesday, Nov. 3, and those who are currently quarantined or actively sick with COVID-19 will be able to vote via curbside voting at their polling locations.

“By all indications this election is going to have a historic turnout,” Warner wrote. “If you are currently on quarantine or are actively sick with COVID-19 and plan to vote tomorrow, please let the poll workers know when you arrive. They will ask that you do curbside voting in order to better protect their poll workers. Curbside voting follows the exact same process as in person voting, and both a Democrat and Republican representative will be present at the car window to make sure that your vote is counted.”

Voters should wear a mask, practice social distancing, and maintain regular hand-washing and sanitizing.

The following are Highland County’s overall COVID-19 statistics as of Monday:

Highland County has had a total of 645 lab-confirmed and probable COVID-19 cases, according to the Highland County Health Department.

The health department reported that there were 183 actively sick patients and six COVID-19-related hospitalizations, and the health department is monitoring 429 Highland County residents for symptoms.

Since the COVID-19 outbreak reached Highland County, there have been a total of 44 COVID-19-related hospitalizations and 12 COVID-19-related deaths, and 450 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.

Health officials continue to urge Ohioans to maintain social distancing, wear face coverings and practice regular hand-washing and sanitizing.

As of Monday, 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 did not have any cases involving staff members.

According to Ohio Department of Health (ODH), which reported 593 cases in the county as of Monday, of the cases in Highland County:

* 106 cases involved 60- to 69-year-olds, nine who were hospitalized and two who later died.

* 87 cases involved 50- to 59-year-olds, seven who were hospitalized.

* 85 cases involved 70- to 79-year-olds, 13 who were hospitalized and two who later died.

* 79 cases involved 40- to 49-year-olds, five who were hospitalized.

* 67 cases involved 20- to 29-year-olds, one who was hospitalized.

* 61 cases involved 0- to 19-year-olds, one who was hospitalized.

* 54 cases involved someone 80 years old or older, seven who were hospitalized and five who later died.

* 52 cases involved 30- to 39-year-olds, one who was hospitalized.

* Two cases involved patients 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.

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Still high case numbers in Hillsboro nursing homes

By McKenzie Caldwell

mcaldwell@aimmediamidwest.com