14 Confirmed Cases, 1 Probable Case in Union County: The Union County Health Department received notice of four additional cases of COVID-19 over the weekend. We are now reporting 15 cumulative cases in Union County. Fourteen cases are lab confirmed cases. One case is a probable case per CDC definition. Of the 15 individuals, 11 have recovered, 4 are actively ill. Two individuals required hospitalization while ill (one currently hospitalized). The age-range of cases is 25-83 years with a median age of 48 and an average age of 48.5. The illness onset ranges from Mar. 1 to Apr. 6. 60% of the individuals are male and 40% are female. Eleven of the 15 lab confirmed cases are either healthcare workers, individuals with travel history, or individuals connected with a known case of COVID-19. Four cases have unknown exposure (community spread).
Case counts and related case information should be interpreted with caution. Case counts and related information likely reflect testing shortages and subsequent targeted testing rather than a true representation. Interpreting case counts as a complete picture of illness in Union County is not advised.
Schools Will Continue Online Learning: Governor DeWine announced today schools will continue online learning for the remainder of the school year.
Testing Increasing at Long-Term Care Facilities & Prisons: Congregate settings like long-term care facilities and prisons increase the risk for quick and aggressive spread of COVID-19. The Union County Health Department is preparing a team to support these congregate settings as targeted testing for these facilities is coming from the state.
In an effort to identify and respond quickly to outbreaks in these high-risk settings, Governor DeWine and Dr. Acton have created response teams at the state level to support long-term care facilities and Ohio prisons. As testing in these congregate settings continues, we expect to see an increase in cases reported in Union County. These additional cases may come in the form of facilities located within our county, as well as facilities outside our county who have staff that reside in our community.
Wearing Masks Helps Protect Others: We have received lots of questions about masks. Masks and face coverings (except N95) do NOT prevent you from getting sick. Instead, masks help to protect the people around you if you are infected but do not have symptoms. Masks are not mandatory but are now being recommended for two main reasons. 1) there is widespread community spread of COVID-19 in communities across the US, and 2) there is enough scientific evidence to demonstrate a significant proportion of people who get COVID-19 will never have symptoms (asymptomatic) or develop symptoms after they are infectious (pre-symptomatic). A face covering provides a physical barrier to reduce the number of respiratory droplets that are expelled into the environment. To learn how to make, wear and clean a face covering, go to https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prevent- getting-sick/cloth-face-cover-faq.html
Health Commissioner Working on Safe Guards for Reopening: As Governor DeWine works on how we reopen Ohio, Union County Health Commissioner Orcena is drafting guidance for local businesses. Guidance from Health Commissioner Orcena will expand upon many of the elements of the checklist for businesses included in the Stay Home Order. The guidance focuses on continuing to encourage social distancing and staying home when sick as we slowly start to reopen businesses. This guidance is designed to serve as a starting point for businesses until the Governor issues statewide guidance.
A Message from the Health Commissioner: As our residents have stayed home and slowed the spread of this virus, it has worked, we have flattened the curve, we have saved lives. We are so thankful for these selfless actions of our residents. You bought us time to prepare our community. Now your actions are allowing us in public health to start planning for what life in Union County looks like as we move beyond May 1. Life will not return to normal overnight. It can’t because this virus remains among us. We are committed to continuing to work with our partners and residents to protect health as we keep moving forward.
What Businesses & Customers Could Expect: Governor DeWine is asking businesses in each industry to start coming together to talk about how they can ensure employees and customers are safe once we start getting back to work and life. Certain “pandemic norms” will likely need to continue. Distancing by employees and customers will continue. Wearing masks by employees and customers will continue. Physical barriers between customers and employees will continue. Cleaning and sanitizing will remain frequent. Ample opportunities to wash hands and hand sanitize will be necessary. Staggered shifts to reduce the number of employees in the building at one time will be encouraged. Working from home whenever possible will remain. Taking temperatures and staying home when sick will continue. Limited number of customers allowed in a store at a time will likely continue.
Virus Will Remain: Even after we start reopening in Ohio, the coronavirus will continue to circulate. We must individually and as employers take steps to protect ourselves and our community. We have all done our part to slow this virus down. We will all continue to carry this responsibility together as citizens as we get back to work and life.
Ohio (Apr. 20) / 12,516 confirmed cases / 2,653 hospitalizations / 491 confirmed deaths / 51 median age