County returns to orange
LISBON — While Columbiana County returned to the level two, orange, on the Ohio Public Health Advisory System, the county had only 10 new confirmed coronavirus cases in a week, the lowest weekly total in months.
According to Laura Fauss, public information officer for the Columbiana County General Health District, the county has had 1,932 positive cases. The new 10 since Sept. 18, are one resident from a long-term care facility and nine from the general community. Additionally, of the 1,851 county residents who have survived having COVID-19, 1,833 are considered recovered at this point.
One of the two indicators Columbiana met, which led to the change to level two, orange, are for having the majority of our cases non-congregate cases. That indicates spread of the disease in the general community, but also indicates a slow of spread in long-term care facilities, where many of the most vulnerable people live.
The other indicator happened after numbers showed a steady five-day rise in the number of Columbiana County residents who went to the emergency room with concerns about COVID-19 type symptoms between Sept. 12 and Sept. 16, even if they do not test positive for the disease. The numbers have began to decline again after Sept. 16.
Fauss said she does not want residents to be discouraged about the orange color change, because the data for the county shows the number of cases have plateaued and the hard work residents have done has succeeded in slowing the spread in Columbiana County.
There have been 81 deaths, with the majority of them, 53 residents of long-term care facilities. Another 19 were community members and nine were inmates of the Federal FCI-Elkton Prison.
Since schools reopened, many in August, there have been only two known cases of coronavirus involving students and no teachers or staff.
In order to keep things in a positive direction, the County Health Department continues to encourage people to seek out a flu vaccine this year. Fauss said additionally, they want those older than 65 years old to consider the high dose flu vaccine, which has a higher immune response than the standard vaccine.
Those considered high risk for the flu include those 65 and older, children under 2 years old, those with asthma, chronic lung disease, endocrine and liver disorders, heart and kidney disease, obesity, pregnant women and others with weakened immune systems.
Because it takes two weeks for the flu vaccine to build up the antibodies that protect a person, people should consider getting it soon before the flu season begins to spread in the area.
The Health Department is working to create a COVID-19 vaccine task force, so when the vaccine is available the county will be ready to distribute it.