Coronavirus: Five Clark County districts, one Champaign report new cases

Five Clark County school districts reported new cases of COVID-19 in their schools this week, according to the Ohio Department of Health’s COVID-19 school district dashboard.

That’s the highest number of local districts to report cases in one week since Gov. Mike DeWine unveiled the dashboard on Sept. 17.

The districts reported 11 total cases.

The dashboard is the result of an ODH order requiring schools to report cases to their county health department within 24 hours of learning of them.

The dashboard tracks cases of COVID-19 in all public and private K-12 schools across the state. Data displayed on the board included all student and staff cases broken into two categories: new and cumulative. The board is updated each Thursday.

Clark-Shawnee Local Schools, Northeastern Local Schools, Northwestern Local Schools, Springfield City School District, Tecumseh Local School District and West Liberty-Salem Local Schools all reported new cases between Sept. 21-27.

SCSD reported two student cases and two staff cases; Clark-Shawnee and Northwestern reported two student cases each; Northeastern and Tecumseh reported one student case each; and West Liberty reported one staff case.

Clark County Combined Health District Commissioner Charles Patterson said although “lots” of school districts are beginning to report cases, it doesn’t necessarily mean something is “wrong.”

“There are no large outbreaks in any of our schools. We are seeing cases in facilities with students that are starting to pop up and we are investigating those when they do,” Patterson said.

Patterson said “of course,” districts are going to record positive cases.

“Now that (students) are in school they are spending much more time out than when we were staying home,” Patterson said.

But an influx of school cases has caused some schools in the county to make changes.

On Sept. 25, Hayward Middle School, which is in the SCSD, announced they would extend their temporary virtual learning until Friday as a result of a positive student case identified on Sept. 18. As of Thursday, two students had tested positive and 25 students and 10 teachers related to the district were quarantining.

ExploreCoronavirus: Springfield middle school to stay virtual for another week

On Thursday, the Shawnee/Kenton Ridge football game scheduled for Friday was canceled after a positive COVID-19 test, Kenton Ridge Athletic Director Kris Spriggs said.

The cancelation comes right before the end of the six-game regular season, with playoffs slated to start next week. DeWine said during his press conference on Thursday that playoff football could continue as scheduled as long as districts continue to take proper precautions.

Clark and Champaign County remained at level 2 on the Ohio Public Health Advisory System. Thursday marked the sixth straight week Clark County has stayed at the orange level.

Prior to the last six weeks, Clark County bounced between level 2 and level 3 since DeWine unveiled the advisory system on July 2.

The advisory system ranges from level 1 or yellow as lowest to level 4 or purple as highest and most severe. No county has received a purple rating, however, Richland County, located in the north-central section of the state, was placed on a watch list this week, indicating it is approaching level 4.

The seven indicators the Ohio Department of Health uses when judging what level to give a county are: new cases per capita, sustained increase in new cases, proportion of cases not in a congregate spread, sustained increase in emergency department visits for COVID-like illness, sustained increase in outpatient visits for COVID-like illness, sustained increase in new COVID hospital admissions and intensive care unit bed occupancy.

For the last three weeks, Clark County hit three indicators: new cases per capita, sustained increase in new cases and proportion of cases not in a congregate spread.

Champaign County hit two indicators this week: new cases per capita and proportion of cases not in a congregate spread.

Clark County had 1,895 cases, 41 deaths and four probable deaths of the coronavirus as of Thursday afternoon, according to ODH. Champaign County had 318 cases and three deaths.

Statewide, 11 counties were given a level 3 rating this week, including neighboring Montgomery County. DeWine said this week’s ranking saw the most number of red counties since the start of September.

Ohio reported 155,314 total cases and 4,817 deaths of the coronavirus on Thursday, according to ODH. Between Wednesday and Thursday, the state reported 1,327 new cases and 13 new deaths.

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Schools reporting coronavirus cases this week:

Clark-Shawnee Local School District: 2 student cases

Northeastern Local School District: 1 student case

Northwestern Local School District: 2 student cases

Springfield City School District: 2 student cases, 2 staff cases

Tecumseh Local School District: 1 student case

West Liberty-Salem Local School District: 1 staff case

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