Miami County sees 9 new COVID-19 cases

By Melody Vallieu

AIM Media

MIAMI COUNTY — Nine additional presumptive positive COVID-19 cases in Miami County have been identified.

All nine cases are residents of Koester Pavilion, for a total of 11 presumptive positive COVID-19 cases with the two presumptive positives from Wednesday.

“This morning we took nine additional samples to the Ohio Department of Health, and late this afternoon we received word they are all presumptive positive,” Miami County Health Commissioner Dennis Propes said.

Propes explained that “presumptive positive” means that testing has been done at the Ohio Department of Health and results came back as positive. A “positive” test means it has been sent to and tested at the Centers for Disease Control.

“We don’t know what the turnaround is on them (at the CDC). We don’t sit around and wait on them — it could come a month later,” he said. “They are basically interchangable. It’s there, and we are taking action.”

There are also three additional residents and two staff from Koester Pavilion who are hospitalized at Upper Valley Medical Center. Tests for COVID-19 are still pending on those patients. Propes said Thursday evening he does not know the condition of the five hospitalized patients.

Five more Koester Pavilion staff have also been tested for COVID-19 and results are pending in their cases, Propes said. Results on those on those tests should take between 24-48 hours.

“We do not have test results back on any of those,” Propes said of the 10 additional cases.

Ages of those affected range from 32 to 94, Propes said. He said he did not readily know the number of males and females.

Miami County Public Health staff along with epidemiologists from the Ohio Department of Health are currently working with Koester Pavilion to identify and contact those who may have come in contact with these confirmed cases. Propes said the ODH sent several epidemiologists to work with the public health department on the Koester Pavilion case this week, and for that he is thankful.

“We’re working with the ODH, Koester and Premier to put all the pieces of the puzzle together,” Propes said.

With 21 cases under investigation total, Propes said he believes more will come to light in the coming days.

“Those numbers will change. That’s how fast this moves,” he said. “It’s a very good possibility that there are more based on the distribution of people in the facility.”

Propes said public health knows of no more unrelated cases in Miami County.

He said if people are symptomatic of the coronavirus in the county, they should call their physician.

“If you are displaying symptoms, we always recommend you discuss that with your physican, explain the whole totality of the situation, and let your physician direct you from there,” Propes said.

While most COVID-19 cases are mild, those who are 60 years old or older and those with long term medical conditions, such as heart disease, cancer and diabetes, are at higher risk of developing severe symptoms.

In the rest of Ohio, there are currently 119 confirmed cases in 24 counties, with onset of symptoms ranging from Feb. 7 to March 18. Of those cases, there are 43 females and 76 males, ranging in age from 2 to 91. There are currently 33 individuals hospitalized in Ohio.

“Local and state public health officials are working diligently on this matter coordinating efforts to keep the public safe and informed. MCPH will continue to update the community as new information becomes available,” Propes said.

Premier Health did not responded to questions regarding the situation as of deadline.

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MCPH waiting on results of 10 more people tested

Tips to stay healthy

In order to help stop the spread of disease, MCPH encourages everyone to:

• Follow social distancing recommendations from the governor’s office and the Ohio Department of Health

• Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.

• Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer only if soap and water are not available.

• Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.

• Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when coughing or sneezing.

• Avoid contact with sick people.

• Stay home when you are sick.

• Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces — doorknobs, light switches, keyboards, etc.