Tips Following Thanksgiving: As we resume work and school following the Thanksgiving holiday, we ask residents to take precautions. Please watch closely for post-holiday symptoms of COVID-19. Symptoms can be mild in some people – similar to a cold, sinus infection, or head cold. If you develop symptoms, it is best to err on the side of caution and stay home from work, school, and activities. If possible, we encourage employers to allow for telework opportunities to reduce the possible impact on their business following the holidays. We encourage faith and community partners to emphasize to their participants the importance of symptom monitoring and staying home at the first sign of illness. Where ever possible, virtual opportunities should be encouraged for these two weeks following thanksgiving.

Testing in Union County: We are very grateful for the continued partnership with our community health center, Lower Lights Christian Health Center. Through Lower Lights’ commitment, residents have access to COVID-19 testing on:

Mondays, Noon-4pm
Wednesdays, 9am-Noon and 1-4pm
Thursdays, Noon-4pm

The Ohio National Guard is also providing COVID-19 testing on Tuesdays, Dec. 01, 08, and 15. Testing for all days is by appointment. Appointments can be booked at Testing is recommended for individuals with symptoms of COVID-19. We always encourage individuals to talk with their doctor first to determine if testing is appropriate. However, a doctor’s order is not required for testing at the Union County testing site.

Mass Vaccination Planning: Governor DeWine has stated that initial vaccine doses may be in Ohio in two to three weeks. These initial vaccine doses will be prioritized to high-risk groups like healthcare workers and residents of nursing homes.  The Union County Health Department continues to prepare for the arrival and quick distribution of a COVID-19 vaccine as more vaccine becomes available.

Situational Update: 7 new COVID-19 related hospitalizations were reported since Nov. 25. No additional deaths have been reported. The number of daily cases reported since Nov. 25 has declined some, however, we do not know yet if this will be a sustained decrease in new cases or a reflection of fewer testing options for ill people over the long holiday weekend.

Today during Governor DeWine’s press conference, Dr. Andy Thomas reported that 1 in 3 patients on a ventilator in Ohio has COVID-19. Nurse Giere from the Upper Valley Medical Center, cautioned Ohioans that COVID-19 is affecting many different people, including healthy people who are not traditionally considered at high risk. These doctors and nurses again asked all of us to wear our masks, use social distancing, avoid gatherings, and staying home when we are sick or exposed and need to quarantine.

Contact Tracing: As we navigate through these trying times, we continue to ask for the help of our residents. If you test positive for COVID-19, please reach out as soon as possible to anyone you had close contact with (within 6 feet for 15+ minutes) from 48 hours prior to your symptoms starting until you began staying home. Ill individuals often do not seek testing until one or more days into their illness. It can take several more days for test results to return and the results to hit our office. This delay is affecting contact tracing efforts. We need the help of all our residents to overcome this newest hurdle the pandemic has thrown at us. Click here to view the CDC’s quarantine calendar for those who have been exposed to COVID-19 but who do not have any symptoms.

Gratitude: At this season of thanksgiving and gratitude, we count our blessings to live in and serve our community. We have so many partners supporting this community-wide response, and so many residents taking action to protect their neighbors and friends. From the bottom of our hearts, we are grateful and moved by each act of kindness and care for a neighbor, helping hands from community partners, and words of encouragement from residents and clients. Thank you, Union County, for working together through this pandemic marathon.

COVID Courage: As a closing thought today, Nurse Pence from Riverside Hospital made a very powerful statement today – “The front line in this pandemic is the community. We in the hospital are your last line of defense.” She urged Ohioans to accept the challenge the healthcare workers at Riverside Hospital have taken on. The challenge is to have COVID courage. COVID courage is having the courage to wear your mask, even in those times when you may be alone in this effort. As Nurse Pence shared, many patients she is treating said they took their mask to the baby shower, birthday party, family gathering, or dinner with friends – but left it in their pocket because no one else had their mask on. This resonated with me. Today, I ask you to join me in accepting Nurse Pence’s challenge to have COVID Courage each day.

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