Mahoning Virus Cases Rise, Officials Say Measures Are Working

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio –  Mahoning County has recorded 31 deaths from COVID-19, with more than half of fatalities among people 80 years of age and older, according to the Mahoning County Public Health Department.

The increase in deaths comes just hours after Mahoning County Health Commissioner Ryan Tekac said on a conference call that going a day without any deaths was a good sign that social distancing is working. 

He referenced Ohio Department of Health director Dr. Amy Acton’s comments that great strides have been made in flattening the curve and slowing the spread of the virus. Tekac agreed, but cautioned that residents need to remain vigilant about adhering to social distancing orders. 

Mahoning County is reporting 358 diagnosed cases and 157 people hospitalized. 

Dr. James Kravec, Mercy Health-Youngstown chief clinical officer, said he was pleased to see the curve flattening, but the number of hospitalizations and critically ill patients in intensive care  means that the area will see more deaths. 

“We have very sick patients and we know this virus can make people decline very quickly. But the most important thing right now is to continue social distancing,” he said.

Across the state 45% of COVID-19 deaths are people who were in long-term care centers. The Ohio Department of Health is working with centers to gather data and monitor outbreaks.

Tekac said his department is working with the long-term care centers on isolating patients and following state and federal restrictions. He would not release any information or data about outbreaks due to HIPAA laws. 

Tekac also noted that Easter weekend is coming and he implored people not to gather and for faith-based organizations to use technology and social media to hold celebrations.

“Gathering during this time when we’ve gained so much ground would only be steps in the wrong direction and we need the community to continue to do their part with social distancing in order to slow the spread and save lives,” he said.

Copyright 2022 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.