Wednesday, March 25th, 2020
Mercer County confirms first positive test
By Leslie Gartrell
CELINA - A Mercer County resident has tested positive for COVID-19, according to a Mercer County Health District news release.
The district received the test results after 6 p.m. Tuesday and announced the person was a hospitalized patient, health administrator Jason Menchhofer said.
Testing for COVID-19 has been limited to hospitalized patients and symptomatic hospital workers following a directive issued by Gov. Mike DeWine on March 18. No personal information about the patient will be released to protect the individual's privacy, according to the release.
Testing was reportedly completed at an Ohio Department of Health testing lab. Health district staff are working to identify and notify any close contacts who may have been exposed to the person, according to the release.
People can protect themselves against COVID-19 by washing their hands often, covering their mouth/nose with a tissue or sleeve when coughing or sneezing and frequently cleaning and disinfecting frequently touched surfaces. The release states it's equally important to avoid close contact with others and stay at least 6 feet away from others.
Since Monday, Ohioans have been under a direct order from ODH Health Director Amy Acton to stay home to stem the spread of COVID-19. The order will stay in effect until 11:59 p.m. April 6 and prohibits gatherings of any size and closes all nonessential businesses.
According to ODH, 564 cases have been confirmed in 49 counties as of 9 p.m. Tuesday, as well as 145 hospitalizations and eight COVID-19-related deaths. Menchhofer said the health district is aware of eight other people who have been tested for COVID-19 with results pending.
Five people have tested negative, he noted, saying reporting requirements have changed, and suspect cases are not required to be reported to the local health department.
"Only confirmed cases are required to be reported, so it is possible that there are additional tests pending that are unknown to us," Menchhofer said in a separate news release on Tuesday afternoon.
Mercer County residents can contact the district's call center with questions on COVID-19 from 9 a.m.-3 p.m. every day at 567-890-2619. Anyone interested in volunteering with the MCHD COVID-19 call center can contact Kristy Fryman at email@example.com or by phone at 419-586-3251, ext. 1286, for information on joining the Medical Reserve Corps.