WILMINGTON — Clinton County currently has 695 active cases of COVID-19, total local cases have now topped 5,000 with 5,053, and 79 COVID-related deaths have been recorded as of the Wednesday afternoon update reported by the state.
The previous high for active cases in Clinton County was 688 on Dec. 18, 2020, according to Clinton County Health Director Pamela Walker-Bauer.
“All that I can do is share the data and provide education on the tools to reduce risk,” said Walker-Bauer. “Get vaccinated if you can, wear a facial covering, physical distance, stay home when ill, and wash your hands.”
She hopes that Clinton Countians will trust her and the CCHD staff’s experience and advice.
Walker-Bauer said she has 25 years of public health experience and a master’s degree in Public Health. “My leadership team are trusted members of this community: Matt Johannes, our Environmental Health Director, has over 30 years of experience; Renee Quallen, our WIC Director, has over 10 years of experience; Monica Wood, our Nursing Director, has over seven years of experience; and our Terry Holten M.D., our Medical Director, has 21 years of experience.
“These individuals are your family, friends and neighbors,” she added.
“Senate Bill 22 that went into effect this past June limits the authority of local boards of health from taking any other broad sweeping action for the community at large, such as a mask mandate,” said Walker-Bauer. “Education and credible information are the tools the Clinton County Board of Health and the Health District do have. Individuals in the community have the personal responsibility to decide to either take heed in our guidance, or to deal with the potential consequences or not.
ICU at capacity
Clinton Memorial Hospital “is treating more than 15 patients who have tested positive for COVID-19 in our hospital,” according to information provided by CMH on Wednesday requested by the News Journal. “This number can change rapidly. We monitor hospital capacity within every department each day, closely tracking fluctuations in emergency, acute and critical care areas and regularly reporting our capacity in these areas to the state.
“At this time, our hospital has reached capacity in critical care/intensive care,” according to a statement from CMH.
“As reported by the Ohio Department of Health, cases of COVID-19 have increased in Clinton County through the last month, and with the documented increase in confirmed positive cases, hospitals in our region, including ours, have seen an expected increase in hospitalizations.
“At Clinton Memorial Hospital, the health and safety of our patients and team is always our top priority. We would like to share updated information related to COVID-19, including the status of our operations and the safety measures we are taking to protect our patients and staff.”
CMH “is taking all necessary precautions to protect our patients and staff from COVID-19”, including:
• Limiting entry points to the facility
• Requiring all of our staff members and patients to wear masks
• Requiring all of our clinical staff members to wear eye protection for all patient encounters
• Maintaining a strict limited visitor protocol
“We stand ready to serve your healthcare needs, but we need your help,” according to CMH. “Please do your part to protect yourself, your family members and your fellow community members by practicing social distancing, avoiding large gatherings, washing your hands regularly, and wearing a mask or face covering while in public.
“We are at a critical point in this pandemic, and it will take all of us working together to get through this. And while our team is all-in on the fight against COVID-19, but we know you need us for a whole lot more.
“Please, do not delay essential and especially emergency care. It is safe to come to the hospital.”
The CCHD continues to offer walk-in COVID vaccination clinics through September from 1-4 p.m. on Tuesdays, Wednesday and Thursdays in the Annex.
They currently have Moderna and Pfizer in stock, and they are expecting a shipment of Johnson & Johnson’s vaccine any day.
The CCHD is also now offering flu shots.
Masks in schools
At a Tuesday afternoon virtual meeting, Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine along with the Ohio Children’s Hospital Association made a direct appeal to school superintendents, asking “all schools in Ohio to require masks for staff and students during this very dangerous surge of COVID-19.
“The data are now clear that there is a higher level of COVID in school districts where masks are not required,” said DeWine in the virtual meeting. “COVID-19 cases are increasing at nearly twice the rate among school-aged kids as compared to the rest of the population. This past week, we saw a 44% increase among school-aged children and only a 17% increase among the rest of us.
Patty Manning, MD, Chief of Staff, Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center, said during the meeting, “Our inpatient numbers are the highest they’ve been. Our ICUs are caring for more patients than there’s ever been. More children are on ventilators than there has ever been. There are more children than ever entering our emergency departments and our urgent care centers. That impacts the care of all children, not just those that are COVID-19 positive.”