Coronavirus: Clark County health district hopes to stop Northeastern outbreak using knowledge learned from Dole outbreak

Motorists are directed where to go for a free COVID-19 clinic in the Kenton Ridge High School parking lot Friday. BILL LACKEY/STAFF

Credit: Bill Lackey

Credit: Bill Lackey

The Clark County Combined Health District is hoping to stamp out an ongoing COVID-19 outbreak within the Northeastern Local School District by using the same model that was used for the workplace outbreak at Dole Fresh Vegetables in Springfield.

Charles Patterson, health commissioner at the CCCHD, said the county hosted a free pop-up COVID-19 testing clinic at Kenton Ridge on Friday in hopes of recreating the success the health district had at stopping the spread of the virus at Dole earlier this summer.

“We want to find out where the virus is. We want to do the same model that worked out with Dole. We knew we were getting lots of cases there, so we had a mass testing event and we found out where the virus was, we isolated those people for 10 days and we had a dramatic drop off in cases in that area,” Patterson said.

The health district held a mass testing event at the Dole facility on June 13, testing 829 employees, after the COVID-19 outbreak began in the facility in late April. Of those, 236 turned up positive. COVID-19 cases at the plant became zeroed out shortly after that.

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Friday’s pop-up clinic was hosted at the high school in Moorefield Twp. from 1-5 p.m. By 2 p.m., Patterson said 200 people had been tested. By 4 p.m. that number had doubled.

“So far the people have come out and gotten tested. We’re really happy we hope they continue to do that," Patterson said.

The pop-up testing was hosted with the help of the Ohio Department of Health and the Northeastern school district. The health district reached out to the state to coordinate the testing because of an increase in cases in Moorefield Twp. — more specifically at Kenton Ridge High School and Northridge Middle and Elementary School, Patterson said.

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According to Northeastern’s COVID-19 dashboard, as of Friday, the district reported 27 total positive cases of the virus and 203 total current quarantined cases.

Kenton Ridge had 16 confirmed cases, six probable cases and 146 current quarantined cases. Northridge had five confirmed cases, three probable cases and 42 current quarantined cases. It’s unclear which of those cases are students and which are staff members.

Patterson said Northeastern’s superintendent, John Kronour, has been “extremely helpful” and encouraged families to come to the testing event, even sending out a one-call to all 3,000 families within the district.

“We want to be supportive of our community during this pandemic and are happy to partner with the CCCHD and the Ohio National Guard,” Kronour said earlier this week. “Schools are a central hub for communities, so we are happy to offer the service of free, quick and accessible testing at one of our schools.”

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Northeastern moved Kenton Ridge students to remote learning on Oct. 7 following the outbreak. Virtual learning was scheduled to run through Friday, Oct. 16, however, based on the recommendation from the CCCHD it has been extended until Oct. 23.

Northridge made the switch on Monday, Oct. 12, and will also continue with virtual learning until Oct. 23.

“Right now, it’s our recommendation they continue with virtual learning for next week. We’re waiting for us to get the test results from today, we should get those by Monday and be able to make better recommendations after that,” Patterson said.

According to a statement on Northeastern’s website, the district will re-evaluate their plans for returning Kenton Ridge and Northridge students to the classroom mid-next week.

“We will evaluate and share with families plans for the week of Monday, October 26 through Friday, October 30. Please be prepared for the possibility of continued virtual learning or hybrid learning for the week of October 26,” the statement said.

Clark County had 2,279 cases, 58 deaths and four probable deaths of the coronavirus as of Friday afternoon, according to ODH.

Ohio reported 177,991 total cases and 5,054 total deaths on Friday, according to ODH. Between Thursday and Friday, the state saw 2,148 new cases and 16 new deaths, both of which are above the 21-day average of 1,386 and 15.

Free COVID-19 pop-up testing:

9 a.m.- 6 p.m., today

North Hampton Community Church

110 Community Dr., Springfield

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