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Virus numbers continue to rise

LISBON — Columbiana County coronavirus numbers continued to rise through the weekend with the FCI-Elkton federal prison again determined to be the biggest contributing factor.

With an increase of five cases on Saturday, but 51 cases on Sunday, the county currently has 794 cases. Columbiana County Health Department Public Information Director Laura Fauss said the increase is directly related to the federal prison surveillance testing. Additionally, Fauss said the health department continues to find data entry errors in the patient addresses in the Ohio Disease Reporting System database, which means more previously reported cases were inmates at the federal prison.

At this point the county health department links 439 of the county’s cases to the federal prison inmate population. The numbers in local long-term care facilities have not increased, remaining at 71 residents accumulative. There were no deaths reported in Columbiana County and the last death reportedly occurred more than two weeks ago on May 16.

On Friday, Health Commissioner Wes Vins had predicted prison case numbers were going to rise due to the increased testing, but also noted the prison did “a whole host of things” which lowered the risk for inmates becoming seriously ill from coronavirus. Nine inmates died of the disease, but Vins said if the prison had not taken the steps they took it appears the situation could have been far worse there.

The state of Ohio is reporting Sunday there are 33,073 confirmed cases and an additional 2,440 CDC probable cases. Additionally, the state is reporting 1,944 confirmed deaths with another 211 CDC probable deaths. Those numbers indicate an increase of six deaths from Saturday to Sunday, well below the 21-day average of 39. Accumulative hospitalizations are at 6,049 with 1,556 ICU admissions. The Ohio Hospital Association is reporting 779 patients are currently hospitalized due to COVID-19 related illnesses, the first time the number has dropped below 800 in at least 14 days.

djohnson@mojonews.com

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