Butler County coronavirus cases increase to 92, doubling in six days

The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases has risen to 92 in Butler County, up from 76 on Monday, there are still two deaths from the disease and 28 people have recovered.

The cases more than doubled in six days, from 43 on April 1 to the 92 reported on Tuesday.

Donning colorful homemade masks, Butler County Health Commissioner Jennifer Bailer and Butler County Sheriff Richard Jones held their twice weekly press conference together on Tuesday. Bailer said the state is recommending people wear masks when they leave their homes.

“We’re being asked to wear these out in the public when we go to grocery store, when you go to do your essential errands you’re being asked now to wear a homemade mask,” Bailer said. “The main purpose of this mask is to keep your sneezes and coughs under wrap, it’s not to prevent you from getting the disease.”

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She said there is research that says people can spread the disease without showing any symptoms themselves. She is not advising wearing gloves because people touch things and the gloves can pick up the virus just like bare hands. Hand washing is best, she said.

Bailer is issuing an epidemiology report twice a week. The report previously listed cases by city, township or village, but it now includes cases by zip code. The highest number of confirmed cases is 15 in the 45044 zip code, which includes Middletown and Liberty and Lemon townships. The 45011 zip code has 14 cases.

Last week her report show 13 cases each in Liberty and West Chester townships. The report is based on the 76 positive tests from Monday.

There have been arrests in Hamilton County for people violating social distancing orders, but Jones said his office has made no arrests.

Bailer said she has received many calls about church services for Easter this Sunday and she has told people parking lot services where people stay in their cars are appropriate. Solid Rock Church in Monroe has been holding in-person, indoor services throughout the crisis.

“We get more questions about that than any other thing. The director’s order exempts religious organizations from closure,” she said. “I have no legal authority nor power to close the Solid Rock Church, I wish that I did.”

She said she has been in contact with church leaders and they are taking steps to keep people safe, like increased hand sanitation stations, cleaning, maintaining six feet of social distance, “but they still have too many people meeting in one place.”

The Butler County commissioners have also been holding weekly briefings and there will be one at 10:30 a.m. Friday.

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