By DEL DUDUIT
Southern Ohio Today
A Facebook post from the Scioto County Health Department caused quite a stir on Monday, according to Scioto County Emergency Management Director Larry Mullins.
The post had a letter from the health department that stated that “Whereas, the county level for Scioto County has risen to the HIGHEST Level PURPLE documenting a PUBLIC EMERGENCY with ‘severe exposure and spread. Only leave home for supplies and services.”
Mullins said the county has not reached a level of purple and probably won’t see the numbers reach that high.
“They should have prefaced the statement to say, ‘If we go to purple this will happen,’” Mullins added. “That just got everyone in a panic because we are not at purple.”
Mullins said the conditions in a county would have to get much more severe to reach the “Purple” Level 4 status.
“To be at purple means that we have to have met six of seven criteria for two weeks,” Mullins said. “Right now, we have met three of seven. We have to be at six of seven for a week and be put on notice. If we have a second week of six out of seven, then we go to purple. We are not there by any means.”
The post created concern for sports administrators and athletes. The Health Department’s post read “The Scioto County Health Board hereby ORDERS all High School, Middle School, Elementary school team sports as well as intramural team/club and intra-team/club, open gyms, practices, scrimmages and competitions for all youth, collegiate, amateur, club and professional sports, whether located in schools or churches or other venues, within the jurisdiction of the Board of Health of Scioto County be SUSPENDED while Scioto County remains at Level 4, ‘Purple’ as highlighted by the coronavirus.ohio.gov website.”
The letter was signed by Sean Sturgill, while a line for Jerod Walker, DO, and Michael Martin, MD and Health Commission were not signed.
Mullins noted that the county is “not even close” to reaching the purple level even after a high number of cases were confirmed over the weekend.
“We had 458 cases per 100,000,” he said. “We did see a large surge this past week with 124 new cases which puts us at about 1,557 now for the outbreak.”
Mullins said about 80 percent of those diagnosed don’t show many symptoms, while about 15 percent are sick enough to seek medical treatment and five percent are serious, especially those individuals with pre-existing conditions, and some die.
He noted that winter sports are still on schedule and are not suspended.
“That will be up to each local school district to decide,” Mullins said. “That state of Ohio does not have a mandate.”
The Health Department did edit the post and now states “Scioto County Board of Health Resolution for Sports IF the County goes Purple. The Resolution is not hypothetical, it is an action that will be taken should Scioto County go Purple.”
For now, winter sports have not been suspended.