COVID-19 Cases Expected to Escalate in Columbiana

LISBON – After reporting one additional case of COVID-19 among county residents Sunday morning, a spokesman for the Columbiana County Health District said cases are expected to increase.

Public information officer Laura Fauss, eported the one additional positive case brings the total to 223 for Sunday, with 62 of those among inmates from the Federal Correction Institution at Elkton and 23 among residents of long-term health care facilities.

She said, however, “We are expecting to see a rise in case numbers due to an increase of additional testing over the last week.”

No new deaths from COVID-19 among county residents were reported Sunday, with the number remaining at 19. Of those, six were inmates from FCI Elkton and seven residents of long-term care facilities.

Fauss was asked about Mahoning County officials having released the names of specific long-term care facilities to the media, showing the number of residents testing positive for COVID-19, which has not been done by the Columbiana County Health District.

In response, Fauss shared information the Ohio Department of Health has added to its website as of Friday, listing specific nursing home and assisted living facilities with the numbers of positive cases among both residents and staff members.

According to the site, as of April 21, just one nursing home in Columbiana County, Salem West, has reported one positive case of COVID-19 among its staff and 16 cases among its residents.

The ODOH website at this time does not include information on the numbers of staff or patients who have died or recovered at these facilities.

These numbers will be updated at 2 p.m. each Wednesday on the website as the ODOH receives information from local health departments.

The ODOH emphasizes on its website that, “Residents and family members should understand that the presence of COVID-19 at a facility is (in) no way an indicator of a facility that isn’t following proper procedure.” 
It encourages family members to “always feel free to ask questions of the facilities where loved ones reside, and if not satisfied, contact their local ombudsman.”

The information provided “does not replace thoughtful conversation with facility staff about their current infection control practices and mitigation strategies,” the ODOH stresses on its website.

Among questions the ODOH suggests might be asked regard what is being done to protect residents/patients from COVID-19; what precautions are taken when a resident/patient is identified as symptomatic; and how family members are kept apprised of changes in infection control policies at the facility.

The ODOH and Federal Bureau of Prisons will update their reports this afternoon and cases reported by the county health district may not be reflected in those numbers.

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