Jackson commissioners address COVID-19 spike

By BRET BEVENS

Southern Ohio Today


JACKSON – The Jackson County commissioners participated in a teleconference about the recent rise in coronavirus cases in Jackson County at their regular meeting on Tuesday in Jackson.


Jackson County Health Commissioner Kevin Aston came to speak on a teleconference of elected officials, medical professionals and school personnel about the spike.


“Our case counts are going up,” Aston said. “We’ve had 436 total cases, in Jackson County, that we’ve identified over the course of this entire pandemic. Our frequency of cases is going up.”


Aston said that just a month or two ago a busy day was seven or eight cases. Now, a normal day doesn’t pass where there isn’t 10 to 20 cases. Aston said there are 85 people in the county who are infectious and more than 300 people are in quarantine.


“So the numbers are certainly high,” Aston said. “It’s to the point where we are at our local capacity to investigate cases. To do contact tracing and to answer and make phone calls is starting to be pushed to its limits.”


Lisa Detty, Chief Nursing Officer with Holzer Health System, said increases are happening in Jackson and Athens counties.


“We are keeping a close eye and Jackson County and Athens County,” she said.


Detty said Holzer and the county health department are telling anyone who thinks they have been exposed to quarantine for 14 days and if they start to exhibit symptoms to get tested.


Curbside testing is still being performed in Jackson County, at Holzer’s Pattonsville Road facility, but a doctor’s note is required for a person to get tested.


“I would stress to all the people in the public that masking really will help prevent the spread of infection,” said Bill Pfeifer, Holzer Health System’s Manager of Infectious Prevention. “I live in Jackson and I have seen a decrease in mask use in in public and that is very concerning to me.”


Aston says that the local schools in the county are doing a great job.


“They are doing everything they can do,” Aston said. “To a large extent, it’s working.”


Aston there have been very few student-to student transmissions at school. He says there have been transmissions on sports teams, especially contact sports or sports where many players touch the same ball.

Aston said the cases that are driving the numbers up are not coming from the public, but private gatherings, such as parties on private property family gatherings.


Aston said anyone receiving a positive test should start a self-quarantine immediately. The health department must wait for documentation to get them before it can start contact tracing or investigating.


In other business, the commissioners passed three proclamations.


The first proclamation was to recognize October as National Breast Cancer Awareness Month. The proclamation states more than 250,000 individuals will be diagnosed and 42,000 people will die from this disease this year. The proclamation urges anybody, male or female, to meet with their physician to discuss any risk they may have.


The second proclamation was to recognize November as National Home Care/Hospice Palliative Care Month.


“We have a great (home health) team at Holzer,” Dr. Marla Haller said. “Ramona (Jenkins) is the director and Florence (Curtis) does a great job with the community outreach.”


Commissioner Ed Armstrong made the motion to approve the proclamation.


“A special thanks to the hospice program and the home care,” Armstrong said. “It’s been a blessing to not only me, but lots of people in the county.”


The third proclamation approved by the commissioners was to recognize Oct. 23-31 as Red Ribbon Week. Susan Rodgers and Shannon Dalton from the Jackson County Substance Abuse Prevention and Addiction Resource Council (SPARC) were on hand to receive the proclamation.


“We are part of the Red Ribbon Planning Committee and we are very passionate about reducing the impact of drugs in our community,” Dalton said. “This is geared toward our youth and our families, just trying to advocate for them to take on a drug-free lifestyle.”

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