Butler County keeping focus on coronavirus as cases near 1,000

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

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Italian doctors say COVID-19 is losing potency, WHO refutes claims

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

Butler County government and health officials say they are continuing to communicate and boost access to testing for the coronavirus as the number of cases near 1,000 in the county.

The Butler County General Health District releases a weekly epidemiology report that gives the essence of how the virus has impacted residents. As of Tuesday, there have been 29 deaths, compared to 24 a week ago, with 953 cases.

The median age is 44 for confirmed cases and 80 for those who have died. The new report shows almost 83 percent of the cases are people in the low risk category.

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Butler County Emergency Management Agency Director Matt Haverkos said a task force of about 30 officials meets every other week and agencies like his, the health departments and some others with timely needs have frequent conversations in smaller groups.

“I think we had the right people at the table to build the systems over the last two months and now the systems are operational in a number of areas,” Haverkos said.

Butler County has incurred costs in dealing with the coronavirus, such as beefed up cleaning and sanitizing of county buildings, extra IT expenses to allow people to work remotely and protective equipment.

Another area of concern has been the homeless. The commissioners approved redirecting $75,000 in Community Development Block Grant funds for finding housing during the pandemic. Another sum might necessary to rent space to house those needing to be sequestered. That amount is unknown at this juncture and no cases have presented in that population.

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Butler County Administrator Judi Boyko said the county has spent $70,000 for extra needs because of the virus response, not including about $25,000 to install Plexiglas shields in some areas.

Chief Deputy Anthony Dwyer said they the sheriff’s office has spent well over $100,000 on equipment and supplies for COVID-19, some of which will be reimbursed.

Atrium Medical Center is using COVID-19 tests to screen all patients admitted to the facility, according to spokeswoman Jennifer Burcham.

“Nothing matters more to us than our patients’ safety and peace of mind,” Burcham said. “Screening enhances our care, leading to quick identification of cases, quick treatment for those people, and immediate isolation to prevent spread. Screening also reveals those who may have contracted the virus but remain asymptomatic.”

In partnership with the University of Dayton, the team from Premier Health, Fidelity Health Care, and CompuNet Clinical Laboratories continues to provide drive-up collection services at UD Arena. Atrium does not offer walk-in COVID-19 tests.

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Walk-in antibody tests are available without an appointment at CompuNet Patient Service Centers at three Premier Health locations at 6615 Cincinnati Dayton Road in Liberty Twp. and 62 N. Breiel Blvd. in Middletown, as well as Atrium Medical Center in Middletown. More information is available at www.premierhealth.com.

Testing is still prioritized based on guidance from the state. In early May, Premier Health and CompuNet Clinical Laboratories expanded the Moraine-based lab’s COVID-19 testing capacity, with an ability to run about 1,500 COVID-19 tests per day.

Mercy Health flu clinics across the region evaluate and treat those with flu-like symptoms, and only those patients who meet certain criteria will receive a COVID-19 test.

Certain groups are prioritized for testing, including health care workers, elderly patients, patients with compromised immune systems, patients with certain medical conditions, pregnant women, patients who live in group settings and anyone with symptoms regardless of those other factors, said Mercy Health spokeswoman Nanette Bentley.

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The flu clinics are a collection site. Results are ready in three to five days, she said.

“The Fairfield site has tested more than 2,500 people. It’s one of our busier locations,” she said.

Kettering Health previously partnered with Kroger Health to increase testing, according James Buechele, spokesman for Kettering Health Network, which runs Fort Hamilton Hospital.

“We are continuing to work with Governor DeWine to enhance our testing capability for COVID-19, and testing for both COVID-19 and antibodies are currently available at Fort Hamilton Hospital,” Buechele said.

Kettering Health Network is seeing a decline in the number of cases of COVID-19, he said.

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Because experts are still trying to understand how many people with COVID-19 don’t have symptoms, UC Health is testing all admitted patients at UC Medical Center and West Chester Hospital, according to spokeswoman Amanda Nageleisen. In addition, UC Health provides drive-thru testing at its Clifton and West Chester campuses. Drive-thru testing is available for ages 14 and older with a UC Health provider’s order and by appointment only

Testing is provided to patients whose UC Health providers recommend and place an order for testing based on the patient’s symptoms or other clinical indications and patients with scheduled surgeries and procedures, including radiology procedures. It’s also provided to expectant mothers with scheduled C-sections and inductions, people who are donating a kidney to a UC Health patient, patients with certain high-risk or complex conditions and some patients with cancer.

“We have capacity to handle both COVID-19 patients, who are treated within dedicated units within our hospitals, while responsibly returning to providing other care,” Nageleisen said.

The Christ Hospital Network is still routing many of its services from The Christ Hospital Medical Center-Liberty Township down to its Main Campus in Mt. Auburn, according to spokesman Bo McMillan.

“That will be changing in the near future however as we look to fully reopen all services at Liberty,” McMillan said. “For now, the emergency department, imaging and physician offices are open in that facility.”

The health system is doing COVID-19 testing in the emergency department at Liberty with an order from a primary care physician, testing that is “fairly new,” he said. Christ Hospital does not have antibody testing at Liberty.

“As far as capacity, we’re still on the lower end as you would expect without all of our services being open,” McMillan said. “We’re expecting that to change rapidly once we reopen services.”

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