WILMINGTON — The Clinton County health commissioner appreciates the local support for the health department during the public health emergency, and she contrasted that backing with what many other counterparts and Dr. Amy Acton have met with.
Clinton County Health Commissioner Pam Bauer credited her health department staffers and their interaction with residents as key to the department having “for the most part, lots of support.”
Also coming into play, she thinks, is having a local pediatrician who was very sick with COVID-19, as well as having another local individual who was also very sick. Clinton County has been fortunate in not having any deaths here from the coronavirus.
As of Monday’s board of health meeting, there have altogether been 55 cases of Clinton Countians who have been infected with the virus and developed COVID-19, with 52 of them recovered, said Clinton County Health District’s Director of Nursing Monica Wood.
During Bauer’s report to the board, she mentioned Dr. Acton’s June 11 resignation as director of the Ohio Department of Health.
Noting Acton was being guarded and had experienced armed protesters along with everything else she was handling in her position, Bauer said if she were in the same situation she would consider resigning, too.
The Clinton County health commissioner said the resignation was unfortunate “because we really liked Dr. Acton. We think Ohio is further ahead of a lot of the states in the union.”
Bauer updated the board on some legislative initiatives in Columbus to constrain or alter public health practice and governance.
“We’ve gone from the good guys to maybe not so good,” she wryly remarked.
Bauer said the county’s health district staffers have been spending a lot of time with county fair organizers to prepare safety practices for the July 11 through 18 fair in Wilmington.
She suggested the local Fair Board is a step ahead in the thinking process compared to other counties due to the H3N2 (swine) flu outbreak at the hog barn on the fairgrounds during the 2018 Clinton County Fair. A number of hogs had H3N2 and 11 people became sick afterward with the illness, recalled Bauer.
There will be added sanitizer at the fairgrounds, she reported as one safety measure.
The health commissioner anticipates facial coverings among fair-goers probably will be a challenge, with the likely hot temperatures not helping in that regard.
Referring to the 2020 fair, Bauer said, “It does make me a little anxious. But we can’t live our lives in a bubble either.”
Both Bauer and Clinton County Health District Medical Director Terry Kerr Holten, M.D., said they don’t envy the county’s school superintendents who will not be able to please everyone as the superintendents make plans related to the pandemic for the upcoming academic year.
During the session, Dr. Terry Holten said, “I really think that most of those people who say ‘Oh, it’s just the flu,’ really don’t realize at all how serious the flu is.” Moreover, COVID-19 is not the flu, said Bauer and Holten.
Director of Nursing Monica Wood related during her report to the board that the Clinton County Health Department provided mutual aid to a neighboring county’s health district. Noting there has been an uptick in COVID-19 cases in some parts of southwest Ohio, Wood said the neighboring county needed help in communicating with a number of Spanish-speaking people.
The Clinton County Health Department has a staffer who is bilingual and holds a degree in Spanish.
“We were able to use her remotely to help those people out, and get them educated and get them in line with the contact tracing via text,” Wood reported.
Reach Gary Huffenberger at 937-556-5768.