Here are the weekly updates of COVID-19 cases in Jackson and Vinton Counties.

Jackson County:

Jackson County Commissioners Paul Haller, Ed Armstrong, and Jon Hensler (called in) met Tuesday morning (10-20-20) with Jackson County Health Commissioner Kevin Aston to discuss the COVID-19 spike locally.

Haller explained that he had received a call from Lt. Governor Jon Husted regarding the increase of the virus in Jackson County. Following this discussion with Husted, Haller planned a conference call locally with mayors, school leaders, and county officials to discuss the matter. Close to 30 leaders were on the call.

Among those on the call was Chief Nursing Officer and Executive Vice President of Holzer Health System, Lisa Detty, who is predicting that Jackson County will become red (level 3) on the Ohio Public Health Advisory System map this Thursday (10-22-20). A level 3 (red) means that there is very high exposure and spread. Those health officials from Holzer are still encouraging residents to wear a mask, and social distance when out.

Aston explained that a lot of the spread of COVID-19, right now, in Jackson County, is taking place at private residences. He explained that gatherings or mixing of families/friends is causing spread because people let down their guard.

“Our schools are doing a great job,” stated Aston. “We are not seeing a lot of case transmission from student to student in the school setting.”

Wellston City Schools, as of October 20, has had a total of 10 students test positive with COVID-19. Of those 10 students, only four cases are active.

Breakdown Totals: Wellston Intermediate School — three, Wellston Middle School — three, and Wellston High School — four. There have been no cases of COVID-19 among staff.

Jackson City Schools is a little different on how they share COVID-19 stats on their website. Unlike Wellston, Jackson doesn’t share cumulative total of cases per school building, however, current cases are shown.

As of Oct. 19, Jackson High School has one student with the virus, and Southview Elementary has one student with the virus. No staff members currently have a positive test for the virus.

Oak Hill Union Local Schools is a little different as well. The school district releases letters that simply say “someone” who attends this school has tested positive for COVID-19. It doesn’t specify whether or not that “someone” is a student or staff member.

Based on the letters, a total of five individuals have tested positive at Oak Hill Elementary School, while five individuals have tested positive at Oak Hill Middle/High School.

The Jackson County Health Department is reporting that the cumulative total, as of Oct. 19, stands at 417 lab-confirmed (positive) cases.

As of press time, there are 85 active cases.

It also reported 19 probable (likely) cases of COVID-19. A probable case is defined as an individual who reports a history of a COVID-like illness and is epidemiologically linked to a confirmed case or an individual who reports a history of a COVID-like illness with supportive lab results, but does not have testing done.

In Jackson County, only one long-term care facilities (Oakwood Community Health Center) has had cases to date. As of October 14, Oakwood has had 45 residents tested positive, and 21 staff members tested positive.

The health department is also reporting 15 positive antibody tests.

The CDC reports that an antibody blood test checks your blood by looking for antibodies, which show if you had a previous infection with the virus. These are separate tests from lab-confirmed case tests.

There are 10 current hospitalization. There have been a total of 36 individuals with lab-confirmed cases that were hospitalized.

There have been a total of six deaths related to the virus reported in Jackson County.

A total of 893 tests have returned negative in Jackson County.

The health department is reporting that 56 percent of the 417 confirmed cases have an underlying health condition. The breakdown of gender infected is 58 percent female, and 42 percent male. The age range in years among those infected is 2-96.

Vinton County:

Vinton County Health Department (VCHD) has been investigating an outbreak of the coronavirus linked to Locust Grove Church, located in the Creola area.

There have been 11 COVID-19 positive cases associated with the cluster reported. Individuals reportedly attended services Oct. 7-10, the health department stated.

The COVID-19 positive individuals reportedly reside in Vinton, Jackson and Highland counties, VCHD reported.

“We have contacted the identified close contacts and they have been given instructions to self-quarantine and monitor for symptoms,” the health department stated in a press release. “VCHD will be in contact daily with these individuals for monitoring of temperatures and symptoms.”

VCHD is urging all attendees of services during this time period to conduct daily symptom assessments. If symptoms do develop, please isolate and contact your primary care provider immediately, the health department stated.

The county currently has a total of 85 cases, with 25 active cases.

“This is the highest number of active cases that we have experienced,” the health department stated.

VCHD also reports on its website four hospitalizations associated with the virus, as of Oct. 17.

COVID-19 has a wide range of symptoms including fever, chills, cough, shortness of breath, runny nose, nasal congestion, sore throat, fatigue, headache, muscle aches, nausea, vomiting or loss of taste or smell, the county’s health department stated. Any person who develops new symptoms should stay home, limit their contact with others, and immediately contact their healthcare provider.

People can protect themselves and help prevent further infections in communities by the following actions:

  • Staying home when you are sick
  • Avoiding contact with people who are sick
  • Washing hands often with warm water and soap for at least 20 seconds
  • Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water is not available
  • Covering your mouth with a tissue or sleeve when coughing or sneezing, then wash your hands
  • Avoiding touching your eyes, nose, or mouth with unwashed hands
  • Cleaning and disinfect “high-touch” surfaces often
  • Avoiding close contact with others
  • Wearing a facial covering that covers your mouth and nose when in public areas

Overall, Vinton County is classified as an “orange” county in the Ohio Public Health Advisory System. According to the VCHD, as of Oct. 19, the county has 78 confirmed cases and 11 probable cases. 258 people have tested negative for the virus, with no results pending at this time. Four people are currently hospitalized in connection to the virus. The county has seen 66 recoveries thus far.

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