Friday, June 5th, 2020

Outbreak reported at area nursing home

2 residents, 3 staff have virus

By Leslie Gartrell
CELINA - A COVID-19 outbreak was reported at The Gardens at Celina on Thursday, and three new cases raised the county's total to 221.
One new confirmed case was reported in Auglaize County, raising that county's total to 70.
Five confirmed cases are connected to the outbreak at The Gardens at Celina. Three involve staff, and two involve residents, according to a Mercer County Health District news release on Thursday. The facility has 13 pending test results.
An outbreak of COVID-19 is declared when two or more cases are confirmed that can be epidemiologically linked in a specific timeframe, district public information officer Kristy Fryman said.
Officials will not release the age range or gender of those infected at the facility to protect the privacy of the individuals, she said.
The Gardens at Celina is the second area long-term care facility to have a reported outbreak. The district declared an outbreak at The Gardens at St. Henry on May 12.
The Gardens at St. Henry has 29 confirmed cases, 15 of which involve residents, and 14 involve staff members. Five resident deaths have been reported at the St. Henry facility.
Both facilities are working with district officials to isolate those who are ill and contact others who may have been exposed.
"The staff at The Gardens has been working diligently to care for the physical and emotional well-being of their residents and updating (the health district) regularly," the release reads. "The (district) and The Gardens have communicated frequently with one another during this time. "Together we ask that you respect the privacy of the residents, families and staff as we all work through this pandemic."
Long-term care facilities are at a higher risk of communicable disease outbreaks because of the close proximity of residents and staff, as well as the underlying health conditions many residents have, district officials said.
Three women have come down with the newest confirmed cases of COVID-19, according to the release. The age ranges are 10-20, 20-30 and 30-40. All are self-isolating at home.
Celina Manor has also had a staff member test positive for COVID-19.
District officials on Thursday also reported 159 people who have recovered, 40 pending test results, 771 negative results, 10 hospitalizations and eight deaths from COVID-19.
Of the eight who have died, five had been residents at The Gardens at St. Henry, two lived in Coldwater and one lived in Celina.
COVID-19 cases are widespread throughout the county. Celina has the largest number at 85, while Coldwater has 49; St. Henry, 39; Fort Recovery, 23; Maria Stein, 12; Rockford, six; Mendon, three; Chickasaw, three; and Burkettsville, one, according to the health district's online dashboard at
Walk-in antibody testing for COVID-19 will be available at multiple Mercer Health locations beginning Monday, according to a news release.
The testing is a part of Mercer Health's direct access testing and does not require an appointment or physician's order. The direct access testing form is available at
Testing will be available from 7 a.m.-7 p.m. at Mercer County Community Hospital, Coldwater, and during regular office hours at Mercer Health Medical Group offices in Celina, Fort Recovery, St. Henry and New Bremen.
In Auglaize County, the 70th confirmed case involves a 41-year-old man who is self-isolating at home, according to an Auglaize County Health Department news release.
Department officials also reported eight probable cases, 11 hospitalizations, 51 people who have recovered and three deaths from COVID-19.
As of Thursday evening, the Ohio Department of Health reported 37,282 confirmed and probable cases in the state, 6,213 hospitalizations and 2,339 confirmed and probable deaths from COVID-19.
Additional online story on this date
CELINA - A Celina man said he was able to get his first night of decent sleep in a decade after finalizing an agreement to transfer his and his wife's flood-prone property to Mercer County. [More]
Subscriber and paid stories on this date
About 25% of residents out of work in April due to virus
Nearly a quarter of all Mercer County residents were unemployed in April due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
After maintaining the lowest unemployment rate in the state for more than three years, Mercer County dropped to 14th in a three-way tie with Clermont and Fairfield counties.
NEW BREMEN - Bremenfest 2020 has been canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Bremenfest Committee members announced the decision on their Facebook page on Wednesday evening.
Amazing Athletes
Bobby Hoying is Mercer County's only Mr. Football.
A three-sport star, Hoying was actually Mr. Everything at St. Henry.
During the 1990 season,
Amazing Athletes
Julie (Fortkamp) Smith was the leading vote-getter on the 1988 Class A All-Ohio volleyball team.
More than 30 years later, the former three-sport standout got the votes necessary to land on a list of St. Henry's all-time greatest athletes.
MERCER COUNTY - High school teams are back on the grind.
Athletes and coaches may have to stand six-feet apart, but they're ecstatic to be back together.
Compiled by Gary R. Rasberry
The Lima Junior Golf Association opened its season on Thursday with the Eagles Aerie #370 Open at Tamarac Golf Club in Lima.