TIFFIN — Seneca County Health Commissioner Beth Schweitzer, MPH, provided an update Wednesday on the local COVID-19 situation.
Schweitzer hosts a Facebook Live briefing which can be viewed on the TiffinOhio.net News page every Wednesday at 10:30 a.m.
Just moments before starting her briefing Wednesday, Schweitzer was notified by her director of nursing that there is another confirmed positive case in Seneca County, making for a total of 11 confirmed cases in the county since the beginning of the crisis.
“That is compared to a week ago, I looked this morning, we had six. So we have almost double unfortunately,” Schweitzer said.
Schweitzer said one person has died from COVID-19 in Seneca County, and five people have recovered. At this time, one person is hospitalized with COVID-19, according to Schweitzer.
During the briefing, Schweitzer discussed the shortage of COVID-19 test kits, explaining why the Ohio Department of Health is reporting “probable cases” in addition to “confirmed cases.”
“Something that you will see if you go to the state’s website, the Ohio Department of Health, is that they are now talking about probable cases. A probable case is one that has not had a test, but has been confirmed by a practitioner that they are diagnosed as a COVID-19 patient,” Schweitzer said. “Someone who has not been tested, but it has been confirmed that they are diagnosed with COVID-19.”
Schweitzer said there are currently no “probable cases” in Seneca County.
Schweitzer also addressed the lingering question of how many tests have been performed in Seneca County.
“We’ve talked about it before, and many people said ‘How many tests have you done?’ Right now I can tell you that we have paperwork on 116 tests that have been done on Seneca County residents. Now, the thing that makes this difficult to know an exact number is that Seneca County residents are tested in many different places, not necessarily all here in Seneca County. Also, we do not get the reports from each lab on negative tests. The commercial labs are reporting those that are positive. If the test is sent to the Ohio Department of Health laboratory, then we get notification whether that person is negative or positive, it comes through on the database, the Ohio Disease Reporting System, that our nurses have access to,” Schweitzer said.
Schweitzer said she is putting out a plea to employers, that if they have an employee who has tested positive, it’s important for the Health District to know who the employee had been in contact with in the workplace. According to Schweitzer, some businesses have not been exactly cooperative with this request, but that she is confident most businesses will comply.
In terms of retail stores, Schweitzer said the department has followed up after receiving some reports of stores where the social distancing guidelines are not being followed.
“Shoppers at stores, we ask you again, shop alone if at all possible. Make sure you keep that six-foot distance,” Schweitzer said.
Also during the briefing, John Spahr, administrator of Seneca County Emergency Management Agency, chimed in and discussed the donations of personal protective equipment and other items.
Spahr said the EMA is taking donations at the Seneca County Public Safety Building, open from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday-Friday. Anyone who would like to donate outside of this time frame should contact Spahr at (419) 934-1967 and he will meet you out there or make arrangements for someone to do so.