Highland County has had more than 1,000 cumulative COVID-19 cases, health commissioner Jared Warner reported Monday.
Warner said that Highland County has had a total of 1,049 lab-confirmed and probable COVID-19 cases.
There were 221 actively sick patients as of Monday.
Since March, there have been a total of 61 COVID-19-related hospitalizations.
The number of new cases and Covid-related hospitalizations continues to increase. On Monday, Warner reported that one in four patients currently receiving inpatient care in Southwestern Ohio is hospitalized due to Covid.
The Ohio Department of Health (ODH) reported that the state continues to see climbing hospitalization rates and new cases. As of Monday, Ohio health officials reported 282 new Covid-related hospitalizations and 11,885 new cases between Sunday and Monday.
Health officials have expressed concern for the impact a high Covid-related hospitalization rate could have on the health care system, which includes a lack of adequate care for both Covid and non-Covid patients.
According to Mercy Health President Ronda Lehman, hospitals in rural communities are feeling the strain.
“The number of coronavirus patients who require hospitalizations are happening at a faster rate than we are discharging them,” Lehman said. “The ability to discharge patients safely with adequate care, such as providing oxygen or skilled nursing home placement, is also burdened like our hospital systems.”
The local health department is closed to the public through Friday, Nov. 27. Health department nursing staff will continue to work through backlogged Covid cases.
“We will still be working, but I am trying to reduce how much work that our staff has to do from home during the holiday weekend,” Warner wrote in a Monday post to the health department’s Facebook page.
He also urged those who are sick to stay home on Thanksgiving.
“I can’t tell you how often we hear from newly diagnosed COVID-19 cases who report going to work, attending church, or meeting with friends even though they felt sick at the time,” Warner wrote. “Please, if you are sick, just stay home.
“Happy Thanksgiving! And for those of you who already have your Christmas trees up, shame on you! It’s too early for that!”
Those seeking COVID-19 testing should not go to an emergency department. Instead, community members should go to hospitals or access free testing resources.
“Please don’t go to the hospital emergency rooms for COVID-19 testing,” Warner said. “The ED is for emergencies. We really need to protect our emergency room for the next several weeks so they can handle any increase in cases.”
Contact your hospital or health provider for more information on the testing process or to schedule an appointment.
“We are still receiving lots of calls about where to get COVID-19 testing,” Warner said. “Most doctor offices and urgent cares in the community offer some sort of testing at their facilities. If cost is an issue, there are also many free testing options that are fairly local.”
Free testing resources are available through the following:
* Corner Pharmacy, located at 259 Jefferson St. in Greenfield. Corner Pharmacy typically offers Covid tests on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Preregister online at www.doineedacovid19test.com.
* CVS Pharmacy in Washington C.H., Blanchester and Wilmington. CVS typically offers tests throughout the week and on weekends. Preregister online at www.cvs.com/minuteclinic.
* Pixel Test by LabCorp. Pixel Test is a mail-in test. Request a test at www.pixel.labcorp.com.
Tests offered through Corner Pharmacy, CVS Pharmacy, and LabCorp are PCR tests, or the most reliable and accurate tests on the market, according to Warner.
Reach McKenzie Caldwell at 937-402-2570.