Logan County Health District nursing staff detailed at their Wednesday afternoon board of health meeting some of the challenges surrounding the influx of COVID-19 cases that were handled during November, totaling 958 cases in the county.
Nursing Director Kelly Reaver said while the workload was difficult to handle for the small number of contact tracing staff at that time, the staff members at the call center are now getting caught up and automated phone calls also started last month for notification of positive cases.
“We got completely snowed under, with the 50 new cases a day we were seeing in November; that was not a match for our eight staff members,” she said.
“But now, we are finally making headway and are current with cases coming in by fax and we are keeping up with our mandated reporting requirements.”
As of Thursday, the state’s COVID-19 dashboard for Logan County showed 1,897 cases of the virus since the pandemic began in the spring, with 1,332 of the individuals presumed recovered.
There also are 101 hospitalizations reported for Logan County residents, and 21 deaths of county residents have been recorded related to COVID-19.
Nov. 25, Logan County moved to a level three “red” alert on the Ohio Public Health Advisory System based and has stayed at that level, indicating very high exposure and spread. Logan County still has the “high incidence” indicator.
Relating to the automated phone calls, officials said the calls take place between 4 and 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.
Upon receiving a positive COVID-19 lab result, the person who tested positive will be contacted by the LCHD nursing and/or contact tracing staff via the automated call, as previously reported in the Examiner.
The automated call requires a response, so recipients should listen closely for instructions at the end of the message.
Officials said it is recommended that if you tested positive for COVID-19, you should notify all of your close contacts whom you may have infected. LCHD will not be making those calls at this time, but will give instructions for how to do so, as well as isolation/quarantine practices.
Reaver and Logan County Health Commissioner Dr. Boyd Hoddinott related that the health district is no longer issuing work releases, but that individuals with a positive case should be able to use the isolation notice they received, which includes their date of diagnosis, if they need to provide information for their workplaces.
The health commissioner also encouraged employers to be aware of the return-to-work protocol for positive cases and the newly released Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines, which has slightly shortened the number of days required for isolation and quarantine procedures. The guidelines are available the agency’s website, www.loganhealth.org.
For any COVID-19 related questions, Reaver encouraged individuals and employers to e-mail the health district at covid19, or call the hotline at (937) 592-9040, enter 1, and expect a delay of 24 to 48 hours for a return call.
During the environmental health report, the board ordered La Palma Bar and Grill, 201 S. Main St., to correct critical violations within two days receipt of the order, or face a possible food license suspension.
Environmental Health Director Tim Smith said the restaurant had hired a pest control operator related to an insect infestation issue, but also needed to show proof of a long-term contract to take care of the issue.
Other critical violations were in the areas of no hot water available in a rear hand wash sink, out-of-date food items in a walk-in cooler; and uncovered food in refrigeration units. Flooring issues also were noted in the kitchen area, but were not included in the two-day order.
In other environmental health matters, the board accepted the lowest bid received of $10,705 from W.D. Excavating for a Water Pollution Control Loan Fund project at the property of Thomas and Rosalee Wise, 178 W. County Road 57, Bellefontaine, for the replacement of a failed home sewage system. The project qualifies for a grant payment of 100 percent.
In other action, the board:
• ordered Scott and Lesley Fry, owners of a property at 9081 Shady Lane, Lakeview, with openings allowing for animal harborage and debris in the yard, to repair or secure the structure and to remove the debris to a licensed facility within seven days;
• ordered Charles Disbennett, owner of a property at 255 Grove Ave., Lakeview, with an abandoned home that allows for animal harborage and two non-working vehicles, to repair or secure the structure and to remove all non-working vehicles or obtain a registration for each within seven days;
• ordered NV Home Solutions, 265 Grove Ave., Lakeview, to secure an open structure on the property within seven days;
• ordered Ruby Stroud, owner of a property at 235 Midway Ave., Lakeview, with trash and debris and non-working vehicles and a boat to remove the solid wastes and all non-working vehicles and boat or obtain registrations for each within seven days;
• ordered Clavon Mees, owner of a property at 2983 State Route 235, DeGraff, with trash and debris and non-working vehicles to remove the solid wastes and all non-working vehicles and boat or obtain registrations for each within 30 days;
• accepted a $200,000 Notice of Award Coronavirus Response funds, which were utilized to pay for expenditures dating back to March, the director of business operations noted;
• approved the hire of clerical assistant Cara Gaines, effective Nov. 30;
• approved a 2 percent cost-of-living increase for employees for 2021 and the 2021 employee insurance rates; and
• approved office holiday closure that includes Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, with employees working a half-day Dec. 24, but the office closed to the public.
The next meeting is 1 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 13.