Trumbull Shifts Public Health Focus to Congregate Sites

WARREN, Ohio – As new cases of the coronavirus appear to have flattened, public health is going to change its focus on hotspots in congregate settings as part of Ohio’s plan to reopen the economy May 1, according to Trumbull County Combined Health Commissioner Frank Migliozzi.

“We’re going to focus in on hotspots, and we have our share of those going on right now. What we’re talking about specifically congregate settings,” Migliozzi said on a conference call Friday.

The first case in Trumbull County of COVID-19, the disease spread by the coronavirus, was reported in the March 11. There now are 210 cases in the county. Migliozzi said enough data has been collected to know what’s going on and some patterns are occurring in some congregate settings and related family members of those residents.

“That’s where we seeing increase in cases not so much individuals but more of these congregate settings” he said.

Migliozzi said health officials need to make sure congregate settings have the ability to isolate residents who have tested positive and are staying on site.

He said an inventory has been taking place. Apartment complexes are not included, but sites that are include behavioral health and long-term care facilities as well as group homes where people may be sharing common hallways and bathroom facilities.

“If someone becomes ill in there, we need to know about it right away so we can appropriately address it before it starts to spread. Do they have the ability to isolate? This information needs to be shared with those places that have common workers. Unfortunately, that’s what’s happened in a couple of cases,” ,” Migliozzi said.

“At least in one of our settings we know that’s how it came in was through a shared therapist coming into more than one location and to multiple sites”

He said if facilities don’t have the ability to isolate in place, “We need to be well aware of that so we have plans in place to remove a person and isolate them so they don’t start to contaminate and spread the disease throughout the facilities specific to COVID-19.”

Testing and availability to personal protection equipment is limited, which creates a problem, he said, and the state is sending testing for congregate sites.

The issue is that the Ohio Department of Health has restricted testing to only residents who are sick. If someone is showing symptoms of COVID-19, or for testing of any congregate resident, Sandy Swann of the health district said approval to test must be obtained from ODH.

Swann said as of now no positive cases have been reported in any congregate facilities other than long-term care facilities. According to the state, 15 cases exist in three of those facilities in Trumbull County.

Trumbull County Combined Health District reports 210 cases of COVID-19.

Mahoning County now has 45 deaths from COVID-19, 552 cases and 203 people are hospitalized. Of the 45 deaths, 47% are residents from long-term care facilities and 56% are people who 80 years of age and older. Mahoning County Public Health said it is not releasing the number of people who are in intensive care units.

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