UPDATE: Mahoning Public Health Confirms 2 Cases

Updated: 5:38 p.m.
YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – Mahoning County Public Health has confirmed that two males in the county have tested positive for COVID-19. One resident is hospitalized, the other is isolated at home.

In a phone conference, Mahoning County Public Health Commissioner Ryan Tekac said the cases are unrelated, but the organization cannot disclose the patients’ ages or if they have any underlying medical conditions. The organization is investigating the history of the patients to determine how they contracted the virus.

They are also working on identifying those who have been in close contact with the patients. Any contacts will be instructed to self-quarantine, he said, and will be monitored for 14 days.

Statewide, there have been 67 diagnoses of COVID-19, the disease spread by the coronavirus. In a press conference, Dr. Amy Acton, director of the Ohio Department of Health, said she currently expects cases in Ohio to peak in late April or early May.

“Our main goal is to isolate those who are ill, identify close contacts and monitor them for illness,” he said in a statement. “We continue to urge our residents to practice primary preventative actions and social distancing as we work to slow the spread of the virus.”

For anyone experiencing mild symptoms, they are urged to “stay home, get adequate rest” and engage in self care, Tekac said during the call. Over-the-counter medications can be used for fever and cough, he said.

If symptoms get worse, such as shortness of breath, Tekac advises residents to contact their health care provider and seek medical care.

Dr. James Kravec, chief clinical officer for Mercy Health-Youngstown and medical director of Mahoning County Public Health says Mercy has received a limited supply of tests for coronavirus. As patients are triaged, based on their symptoms and on their visiting a physician, “there is a chance that if they meet the criteria of the testing, they may be tested,” he said.

“We’re hoping to have more testing available for outpatient centers,” Kravec added.

During a press conference earlier Tuesday, Tamara McBride, chief of the Bureau of Health Preparedness with the Ohio Department of Health, said that Ohio had received its allocation of personal protective equipment, or PPE, from the national stockpile.

When asked during the MCPH phone conference if Mahoning County had received any of the equipment, Dennis O’Hara, director of the Mahoning County Emergency Management Agency said it had not, nor was he sure if it was PPE or medications.

“Ohio has received an allocation from the strategic national stockpile,” O’Hara said. “What they have not told us is what is in it, or a timeframe for distribution.”

O’Hara advised county care providers who have halted services, or first responders who can spare some PPE, to consider donating it to the agency. The agency can be reached at 330 740 2200.

Regarding hospital capacity in the county, Kravec says Mercy is “prepared for where we are and we continue to monitor our daily operations.”

Earlier Tuesday, Mercy announced it had opened two clinics in the Valley, one in Boardman and the other in Warren. Mercy will continue to evaluate other flu clinics as they are needed, Kravec said.

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