Jeremiah Shaver

Jeremiah Shaver

A year ago today (April 7, 2020) the first lab-confirmed case of COVID-19 in Jackson County was announced.

I remember it, like it was yesterday... It was a Tuesday evening.

I was home with my wife. We’re watching tv. I can’t remember what but I do remember I was laying down on our sectional at the time. My phone lit up, and it was a text message from Jackson County Health Commissioner Kevin Aston. The text simply said, “Please check your email for a press release.”

After I read that message, I looked at my wife and said I bet this is it. I then proceeded to fall off the sectional, in my rush to my computer to check my email. When I opened my email, sure enough, there was a press release from Aston explaining that the first positive case had been confirmed locally.

Then, I’d made a post on Facebook and on our website, regarding the first positive case, and basically broke the internet on a local level. Up to this point there had been some case investigations in Jackson County, but nothing turned up, until that day. So, it was big news.

As I look back, it sure has been a long year.

I know early on, the anxiety of the unknown, was the worse. The worry of contracting the virus, the fear of a lockdown, and just not knowing what the next day or week would bring, wore on everyone including myself. And let’s not forget the rush for toilet paper.

The first death locally from COVID-19 didn’t come until many months later.

In August 2020, the Jackson County Health Department and Oakwood Community Health Center sadly reported the passing of one of Oakwood’s residents who tested positive for COVID-19.

Aston explained that this person’s death was the first local death that had been attributed to COVID-19 in Jackson County.

The death was reported on August 25, 2020.

In addition, Jackson County hit 100 lab-confirmed cases of COVID-19 on that same date.

However, 2020 wrapped up with some exciting news in the fight against COVID-19.

The JCHD begun vaccinating, per Ohio and CDC guidance, select citizens in Jackson County against the virus in late December 2020.

Aston told The Courier that the health department received its first shipment (200 doses) of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine on Wednesday, Dec. 23, 2020. Just in time for Christmas!

Aston explained that his department received authorization that same day to begin giving the vaccine to local healthcare providers, and they had immunized over 50 citizens that day.

Throughout this pandemic, the local health department has worked tirelessly to keep up with the virus. From contact tracing early on, to now holding vaccine clinics for the public. They continue pushing forward.

The health pandemic caused so much heartache for everyone. People lost loved ones, events were canceled, people lost jobs, schools were shuttered, folks were socially distanced, and so much more.

To date, there have been 2,824 positive case of COVID-19 reported in Jackson County. A total of 179 people have been hospitalized, and sadly, there have been 59 deaths.

A year later, and we’re still dealing with the virus... everyone please keep masking up, practice social distancing, and good hygiene (washing hands).

As I wrap up, I’d like to mention that the local health department continues to encourage residents 16 and up to consider getting the vaccine. Clinics are scheduled weekly. So, far in Jackson County, a total of 5,642 (17 percent) citizens have been fully vaccinated.

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jshaver@vintonjackson

courier.com

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