Friday, March 27th, 2020
2nd local virus case reported
By Leslie Gartrell
CELINA - A second person has tested positive for COVID-19 in Mercer County, according to a Mercer County Health District news release issued Thursday evening.
The district received results around 6:30 p.m. Thursday, district administrator Jason Menchhofer said. Testing was reportedly completed at an Ohio Department of Health testing lab.
No personal information about the new positive case will be released, said Kristy Fryman, the district's public information officer.
While testing for COVID-19 has been limited to hospitalized patients and symptomatic hospital workers following a March 18 directive issued by Gov. Mike DeWine, Fryman declined to say where the new case fell under those categories. Fryman also declined to comment if the person had traveled out of the area recently.
The news release listed two positive cases, 13 pending cases and one hospitalization. Fryman said the person in the new case was not hospitalized and is under self-quarantine for the next 14 days. Health district staff will investigate the new case to identify and notify any close contacts who may have been exposed to the virus. Fryman said staff are calling contacts and advising them to quarantine at home and monitor symptoms.
COVID-19 is part of a large family of coronaviruses, some of which cause illness in people and others that circulate among animals, according to ODH. Rarely, animal coronaviruses can evolve to infect and spread among people. This happened with severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) in 2003, Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS) in 2014 and now COVID-19.
COVID-19 symptoms include fever, cough and shortness of breath, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. These symptoms may appear two to 14 days after exposure. Older adults and people who have severe underlying medical conditions such as heart or lung disease or diabetes seem to be at higher risk for developing more serious complications from COVID-19.
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. They should also avoid close contact and stay at least 6 feet away from others.
Since testing is reserved for hospitalized patients and symptomatic hospital workers, health district epidemiologist and director of emergency response Deb Scheer has said if people are experiencing COVID-19 symptoms but not ill enough to be hospitalized, they must self-isolate as much as possible for at least seven days after the onset of symptoms. Staying in one room and preferably using a separate bathroom can help to stem the spread.
Symptomatic people should continue to isolate for at least 72 hours after the fever has stopped without the use of Tylenol (acetaminophen) and symptoms have also stopped. Scheer said they recommend using Tylenol rather than Advil (ibuprofen), although the World Health Organization has said both are acceptable.
People should have a plan in place if they experience more severe symptoms and have contact information of their physician or doctor to let them know if they feel worse, Scheer said. It's essential that a person calls ahead to let health care workers and hospitals to prepare. People who call 911 for help need to let the dispatcher know immediately that they are experiencing COVID-19 symptoms, Scheer added.
The CDC says people should seek medical attention if they experience emergency warning signs, including trouble breathing, persistent pain or pressure in the chest, new confusion or inability to turn around and bluish lips or face. The list is not inclusive, and people should consult their medical provider for any other symptoms that are severe or concerning. Scheer again emphasized that if people believe they need medical care to call ahead and inform medical providers before showing up.
As of Thursday, the Ohio Department of Health had reported 867 confirmed cases, 223 hospitalizations and 15 deaths. Patient ages range from 1 to 94, and the median age is 51. More than half of positive COVID-19 cases are male (53%) in Ohio, while females make up 47% of cases, according to ODH.
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 health district COVID-19 call center can contact Fryman at email@example.com or by phone at 419-586-3251, ext. 1286, for information on joining the Medical Reserve Corps.