‘We are not at the peak’: Clark County nears 100 coronavirus cases

The Clark County Combined Health District. BILL LACKEY/STAFF
The Clark County Combined Health District. BILL LACKEY/STAFF

Clark County has not yet reached the peak of the pandemic curve, the county’s health commissioners says, despite the county nearly reaching 100 positive COVID-19 cases.

Clark County has 98 confirmed cases, two confirmed deaths and one probable death, of the coronavirus as of Monday afternoon, according to the Ohio Department of Health’s website.

The county’s most recent coronavirus death, a 90-year-old male, occurred late Thursday evening, Clark County Combined Health District spokesperson Emma Smales said.

Charlie Patterson, Clark County Combined Health District Commissioner, said the county looks like it’s still, “on the upswing of the pandemic curve.”

“The seven new cases from (Friday) alone are telling us we are not getting lower and lower cases,” Patterson said. “We were sort of slow on the uptake, which was great, we were happy that we didn’t get a lot of cases early on. But it appears we are catching up now.”

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Patterson said the district does not want residents to be, “overly concerned, but we don’t want them to ignore the fact that case counts are still going up.”

The uptick in the coronavirus cases can be attributed to two facts, Patterson said, increased testing and, “more of the virus in our community.”

“I think we are identifying more people because we are testing more people but I also think we are seeing more of the disease. So the two things are happening at the same time. More testing to identify and more of the virus in our community,” Patterson said.

The district is continuing to monitor a workplace outbreak located outside of the county. As of Monday, 24 of the county’s coronavirus cases have been linked to that outbreak. The CCCHD said they cannot release information about which county the workplace is in or who the employer is, according to the CCCHD’s website.

The district has also been working with the Southbrook Care Center in Springfield after five residents and three employees tested positive for the coronavirus, one resident later died of the virus. As of Monday, 180 tests had been conducted at the facility, according to the CCCHD’s website.

As cases continue to rise in the county, the timing of reopening businesses might not be, “perfect,” Patteson said. Retailers are scheduled reopen on Tuesday and barbershops, nail salons, day spas, tanning facilities, hair salons and outdoor dining at restaurants can reopen on Friday, per Gov. Mike DeWine’s rollback of the stay-at-home order.

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“I think originally the federal guidelines were that you would have to see 14 days with the same or lower cases to reopen, and that is certainly not occurring right now in Clark County,” Patterson said. “The health department is not against reopening Ohio and reopening our economy, we just need to do it very carefully.”

Patterson said it’s important for residents to continue social distancing, washing hands and wearing masks when possible.

“If we don’t wear our masks and we don’t wash our hands and we don’t social distance, and we don’t stay at home when we can, when we aren’t visiting restaurants and the other businesses that are reopening, we are going to see a surge in cases. And then we may need to pull back from some of this,” Patterson said.