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Another day of the coronavirus crisis

Columbiana County has first ‘presumptive positive,’ drive-up distribution draws crowd to downtown East Liverpool

East Liverpool Mayor Greg Bricker (left) and Dawson, clad in face masks and latex gloves, finish up care packages. More than 100 care packages were distributed to city residents.

EAST LIVERPOOL –As local municipalities were mobilizing on area streets to provide for their residents, health officials released news of Columbiana County’s first presumptive positive case of the coronavirus.

According to a joint news release issued by the Columbiana County Health District along with both the East Liverpool and Salem health departments, officials reported the first “presumptive positive” test result in a Columbiana County resident.

Although this person’s identity and location have not been released, Laura Fauss, public information officer, did state that this individual had not traveled out of Ohio and had no known exposure of the virus.

“Therefore, this is most likely the result of a spread of a virus within our community,” the statement notes. “Infectious disease staff are working to identify and notify those in contact with this individual, who may need to take action, just as they do with all other infectious disease cases.”

Fauss said the county health department is protecting the patient and their family, including not releasing any additional information about them such as age, gender or were the positive test was received. Additionally, no information is being released as to what part of the county this person is from. It is also not being released if the person is currently hospitalized or being quarantined at home.

The county health district’s staff is in the process of contacting family and friends who may have recently come contact with that person. Fauss said they have been preparing and planning for this role since the end of January and this will be business as usual for them as they continue their work to protect the health of the residents of Columbiana County.

Fauss said the health department wants everyone in Columbiana County to continue practicing social distancing and being proactive about protecting themselves. Releasing the area of the county where the person is from might make those living in other areas not to be as vigilant, which is something they want everyone to continue being.

COVID-19 can cause mild to more severe respiratory illness, including symptoms such as fever, cough and difficulty breathing. Persons older than 60 years of age or have a chronic illness or is immunesuppressed are especially at risk.

No word has been received on the status of a city resident who was tested earlier this week for the coronavirus.

The man had posted to Facebook Monday afternoon, announcing his possible status.

Since his announcement on social media, his employer Mountaineer Resort have temporarily shut its doors.

Still yet in East Liverpool, city officials distributed more than 100 care packages to area residents who were in need outside city hall Friday afternoon.

The distribution, which was expected to run two hours starting at noon, lasted a little over a half hour, as residents started lining up approximately 90 minutes before start time. “These packages are on a first-come, first-served (basis) and only one package per car or household,” explained Mayor Greg Bricker. “We have designated a drive thru in which people can drive up to the curb, (and) we will hand out the care package and they will drive off.”

While Safety Service Director David Dawson manned the drive thru route, where East Liverpool police directed traffic, Bricker oversaw the designated drop zone for any individuals who walk up to the building. “We have worked with our healthcare professionals and our own Health Department to be sure we are compliant with the Governor’s orders,” Mayor Bricker added.

Several individuals attempted to acquire numerous bags when driving up; however, officials reminded them of the limitations. However, some were then parking there vehicle away from the site in a parking lot and walking up to the drop off zone, acquiring the second bag until officials wised up to their behavior.

After the bags, which included non-perishable items and produce, were all distributed, officials then distributed the gift cards donated by the Graff and Todd families, who operate downtown Giant Eagle and east end Sparkle, to families so they can purchase goods at the local grocery stores.

Donations from Riverside Restaurant Supply, Heritage Thermal Services, Mountaineer Resort and F.I.S.H. (Friends In Service Helping) also made this distribution possible.

East Liverpool City Hospital also donated gloves, masks and use of their equipment, so workers can stay protected while handing out packages.

“As you can see this is a true community effort to help our residents in a time of need,” Bricker continued. “We are in a time of adversity. East Liverpool is pulling together and pushing forward.”

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