Coronavirus: One Clark, two Champaign County districts report new cases

Credit: Bill Lackey

Credit: Bill Lackey

One Clark and two Champaign 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.

Gov. Mike DeWine unveiled the dashboard last week. The dashboard is the result of an ODH order earlier this month 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 includes all student and staff cases broken into two categories: new and cumulative. The board is updated each Thursday.

Last week, Northeastern and Graham Local School District were the only two districts in Clark and Champaign counties to record positive cases between Sept. 7-13.

This week, Springfield City School District, Graham Local School District and Urbana City Schools all reported new cases between Sept. 14-20.

SCSD reported one student and one staff case, Graham reported one staff case and Urbana reported two staff cases.

On Monday, Haywood Middle School, which is within the SCSD, moved to virtual learning as a result of a positive COVID-19 case. As of Thursday, one student had tested positive for the virus and seven students and one teacher were quarantined, according to the district’s COVID-19 dashboard.

DeWine announced new guidance on Thursday requiring all residential colleges in the state to regularly test a random sample of asymptomatic students in order to stop outbreaks on campus before they get out of hand.

It will be up to universities to decided how many students to test, but the state is highly suggesting at least 3%, DeWine said.

“Screening asymptomatic students really gives college presidents and their staff an idea of the spread on their campuses,” DeWine said.

More details on the guidance will be released shortly, he said, including whether or not the state will assist with paying for the tests.

Wittenberg University in Springfield said previously they couldn’t afford to test asymptomatic students. Instead, Gary Williams, vice president and director of athletics and recreation, as well as the co-chair of Wittenberg’s COVID-19 response team, said in early September that students must have symptoms and a doctor’s referral.

“We would love to give everyone a test that wants one. It’s just not possible for us right now,” Williams said.

Wittenberg resumed in-person classes on Monday after temporarily moving to remote learning for two weeks due to a sharp spike in COVID-19 cases on campus.

At the peak of the outbreak, more than 250 students had either an active case or were in quarantine because they were a close contact of a positive case, Wittenberg’s President Michael Frandsen said.

As of Thursday, the university had seven active and one probable case, according to Wittenberg’s website.

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

Clark County has bounced between level 2 and level 3 since DeWine unveiled the advisory system on July 2. The first time the county hit level 3 was on July 23. The county then dropped back to level 2 for a couple of weeks before moving back to level 3 on Aug. 20.

Since then, the county has remained at level 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.

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 two weeks, Clark County hit three indictors: new cases per capita, sustained increase in new cases and proportion of cases not in a congregate spread. This week the county hit just two: new cases per capita and proportion of new cases not in a congregate spread.

Champaign County hit the same two indicators.

Clark County had 1,777 cases, 37 deaths and three probable deaths of the coronavirus as of Thursday afternoon, according to ODH. Champaign County had 302 cases and three deaths.

Statewide, nine counties were given a level 3 rating this week, including Montgomery County.

Ohio reported 147,744 total cases and 4,715 deaths of the coronavirus on Thursday, according to ODH. Between Wednesday and Thursday, the state reported 991 new cases and 28 new deaths — both of which are above the 21-day average of 982 and 23.

Schools reporting coronavirus cases this week:

Springfield City School District: 1 student, 1 staff case

Graham Local School District: 1 staff case

Urbana City School District: 2 staff cases

Source: Ohio Department of Health

About the Author