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Seneca County Health Commissioner praises effectiveness of face masks amid coronavirus pandemic Staff




TIFFIN — Seneca County Health Commissioner Beth Schweitzer, MPH, provided an update on the local coronavirus (COVID-19) situation in a Facebook Live briefing Wednesday morning.

Schweitzer indicated there are currently 18 total cases of COVID-19 in the county, with 2 deaths and no current hospitalizations.

In addition to molecular swab tests to detect the presence of COVID-19, Schweitzer said county healthcare providers are starting to provide antibody blood/serology tests.

“They are doing some blood tests now, which indicate when someone has had the COVID-19 infection. And we do have two probable cases because of blood tests, but there are also guidelines that have to be met for those to be considered confirmed cases. So we’re working with the state on those two probable cases right now, and when we confirm that we will update those figures,” Schweitzer said.

Schweitzer touted the effectiveness of face masks in decreasing the risk of transmission of COVID-19, citing a study that was conducted by the University of Hong Kong which found that the coronavirus’ transmission rate via respiratory droplets or airborne particles dropped by as much as 75% when surgical masks were used.

“I’ve been looking at some studies that have been done, I’m always interested to see what kind of information has been studied in regard to the COVID-19 outbreak. On Sunday, there was some information released from a study that was done in China on wearing masks to determine if that significantly decreases the risk of transmission. The study was conducted by a team of scientists in Hong Kong, they found that the rate of non-contact transmission when both people were wearing masks, the airborne particles dropped by as much as 75 percent when masks were used,” Schweitzer said. “I know there’s been controversy, and some people wondering how effective masks are, but that does show that it does make a difference.”

In addition to studies regarding face masks, Schweitzer cited a study done in Germany about the effectiveness of social distancing measures.

“All of these measures were found to reduce the spread. The one that had the most positive impact was the restricting of contact of individuals… I think what you’ve been doing here in Seneca County has been helping and reducing the risk of spread,” Schweitzer said.

Schweitzer said she will be scaling back the frequency of her Facebook Live briefings on COVID-19, which have been held on a weekly basis every Wednesday. Schweitzer is now planning to host them on a biweekly basis, twice per month.

Statewide, as of Tuesday at 2 p.m., there are 33,006 confirmed and probable cases of COVID-19 in Ohio and 2,002 confirmed and probable COVID-19 deaths. A total of 5,579 people have been hospitalized, including 1,450 admissions to intensive care units.

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