The Logan County Health District has recently released its 2020 annual report that details staff members’ and volunteers’ extraordinary efforts and many hours spent keeping the community as healthy and safe as possible during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The employees and volunteers deserve a huge vote of thanks for their hard work, extra hours and stress to help the county through this terrible time,” Logan County Health Commissioner Dr. Boyd Hoddinott said in some of the opening comments of the report, which can be found at the agency’s website, www.loganhealth.org, under the “Reports” tab.
During a typical year, the nursing division reports that the health district investigates an average of 250 to 300 infectious cases, looking at the 100 or so communicable and reportable diseases that are followed at the local level for the Ohio Department of Health. However, during 2020, those infectious disease investigations totaled close to 3,000 cases.
“Disease tracing went up ten-fold from our usual 300 yearly, but grants for full-time contact tracers helped us with this time-consuming process,” Dr. Hoddinott said.
“Grants, in fact, allowed us to pay employees for COVID work without having an adverse impact on our budget.”
The health commissioner also discussed some of the unique ways that the health district was able to assist local businesses, churches, restaurants schools and other organizations with being able to meet in-person and to keep their doors open by improving air quality measures.
“The LCHD initiated a number of new ideas that were quickly taken up by other health districts, and even the Ohio Department of Health,” he said. “The practical direction was science-based and resulted in the establishment of a new program for public health prevention in the field of indoor air quality.
“The agency began advising businesses and schools in June 2020, on adequate air exchange as a significant preventative to COVID spread. In response, many county schools and businesses improved their facility’s air quality.”
Related to working with community partners in these capacities, the report denotes that 2,476 hours were spent by environmental health inspectors helping businesses stay open during COVID-19. A total of 179 business plans were reviewed for reopening after the mandated spring shutdown, officials said.
“Thank you for trying to keep small businesses like myself open. It’s refreshing and reassuring to know that we have leaders here fighting for us,” a local campground owner states in the report.
Throughout the pandemic year, the agency never closed its doors, but did alter usual operating procedures for some programs. New safety measures included a front walk-up window.
The Women, Infants and Children Program also remained open, and was able to serve families in curbside visits. The program’s annual baby shower and farmers’ market opportunities continued in outdoor venues.
“To all the nurses and ladies at the WIC office, your baby shower and breast-feeding class were so sweet and amazing…it made me feel not so alone, and I truly learned a lot,” a WIC mother said, with the report denoting that 75 percent of WIC program participants who initiate breastfeeding continue to do so after one month.
The Narcan program also continues to be offered by the health district. In 2020, 412 individuals were trained and 440 Narcan kits were provided. There also were 18 known reversals with kits supplied by the program.
For vital records statistics in 2020, the LCHD reports that a total of 43 deaths of county residents were related to COVID-19, as confirmed March 17, 2021. Those COVID-19-related deaths totaled approximately 9 percent of all deaths for Logan County residents last year, according to the report.
Last year, a total of 436 deaths were recorded in Logan County, and deaths of Logan County residents occurring elsewhere in Ohio last year totaled 572. The oldest county resident to pass away was 102 years old.
Diseases of the heart was the leading cause of death among county residents in 2020 at 27.3 percent.
Births in Logan County last year totaled 326, and births of county residents occurring elsewhere in Ohio totaled 483. Hospital births totaled 308 in the county, along with 18 home births.
“Paisley” was the most common name for new baby girls in Logan County during 2020, and the most common name for boys was “Jackson” most often spelled “Jaxon.”