Thursday, November 5th, 2020

Officials eye panel to share message

Record 70 cases seen in Mercer

By Leslie Gartrell

CELINA - County health officials may create a resident-led group to fight community spread of COVID-19 in Mercer County as deaths, cases and hospitalizations continue to increase.

The announcement arrived as the county experienced its third death this week - the 30th overall - as well as a record-shattering 70 new cases, raising the county's total to 1,726, according to a county health district news release Wednesday.

Auglaize County also saw a large number of cases on Wednesday, as 43 new confirmed cases increased that county's total to 1,247, according to a health district news release.

The 30th Mercer County person to die from COVID-19 was a 94-year-old male from Rockford, according to Mercer County Health District Administrator Jason Menchhofer.

While Menchhofer did not have an explanation for the large number of new cases reported on Wednesday, he said it's most likely due to continued community spread.

That spread has led health officials to consider other methods to cut the risk.

"A recent increase in the number of hospitalized COVID patients and limited ability to transfer to regional hospitals served as a wake-up call that the pandemic is something to be taken seriously," Menchhofer wrote in Wednesday's news release. "The situation is manageable, but now is the time to consider a course correction."

This is not the first time officials have discussed creating a community-led group to spread awareness and education.

Officials at October's board of health meeting said unified messaging from all sectors, not health officials alone, would significantly help efforts to get accurate and timely information to the public.

Menchhofer and other officials for months reportedly have searched for local leaders, public figures and elected officials to speak up and inform the community to no avail.

Having support from local leaders could lead to wider community support, which is needed to help slow the spread, officials said.

"We still struggle with finding someone well-known in the community outside of health and government to share our message," district public information officer Kristy Fryman said in October. "We share our message over and over again, and it seems like people have stopped listening. We also need the support from our community and county leaders as well."

The 70 new cases are the most for a day since the beginning of the pandemic. The previous daily high had been the 48 reported on Friday.

Officials on Wednesday also reported 21 current hospitalizations, a total of 214 probable cases, 1,462 people who have recovered and two probable deaths from COVID-19. Of the 1,726 confirmed cases, 231 are active, according to district information.

Since the beginning of the pandemic, cases have been reported in all corners of the county. Celina has had the most cases with 737; Coldwater, 304; St. Henry, 228; Fort Recovery, 195; Maria Stein, 99; Rockford, 79; Mendon, 25; Chickasaw, 30; Burkettsville, 12; Montezuma, three; and the Willshire area, three.

In addition to the 43 new confirmed cases in Auglaize County, department officials also reported 264 probable cases, 89 total hospitalizations, 860 people who have recovered and 16 deaths. Of the 1,511 confirmed and probable cases, 623 are active, according to the release.

Cases of COVID-19 have been reported in all areas of the county since the beginning of the pandemic. Wapakoneta has 520; St. Marys, 430; Minster, 245; New Bremen, 154; Cridersville, 66; Waynesfield, 39; New Knoxville, 32; Spencerville, six; the Botkins area, four; St. Johns, three; Uniopolis, three; New Hampshire, two; the Lakeview area, two; the Lima area, two; Buckland, two; and the Mendon area, one.

As of Wednesday night, the Ohio Department of Health had reported 230,209 confirmed and probable cases in the state, an increase of more than 4,000 from the day before. ODH also reported 19,801 hospitalizations and 5,428 deaths from COVID-19.

COVID-19 cases/deaths:

Ohio cases 230,209
Ohio deaths 5,428
Mercer County cases 1,726
Mercer County deaths 30
Auglaize County cases 1,247
Auglaize County deaths 16
Subscriber and paid stories on this date
ROCKFORD - Residents who work outside the village may soon pay the village's full 1% income tax.
Council members on Tuesday gave second reading of
CELINA - City officials are building what could be Celina's leanest budget in years due to financial uncertainty posed by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
ST. MARYS - School officials expect deficit spending to begin in fiscal year 2023, and the district could be in the red by the end of fiscal year 2025 without a levy renewal or replacement, according to the most recent five-year financial forecast presented on Wednesday.
2020 State Cross Country Championships Preview
The past four seasons, the Minster girls cross country team has reigned as Division III state champions. During the run, its margins of victory have ranged from dominating (a 96-point advantage in 2017) to close (edging West Liberty-Salem by 10 points last season).
  After scoring 87 points across the first two playoff games, New Bremen walked off the field without a point on the board as Marion Local brought its season to an unceremonious end.
  After taking a rare early loss in the first week of the 2019 playoffs, Coldwater is back in familiar territory: the Division VI Region 24 final at 7 p.m. on Saturday night at Cavalier Stadium.
Computer Points In Review
  And then there were four.
Ottawa-Glandorf and Versailles have now bowed out of the playoffs. That leaves four teams remaining from local conferences, Van Wert, Coldwater, Marion Local and New Bremen. Those teams will compete for regional championships this weekend.
Division I State Semifinals
Both games at 7 p.m., Friday
Mentor (home) vs. Pickerington Central (visitor) at New Philadelphia Woody Hayes Quaker S