Second Butler County resident dies from coronavirus

A second Butler County death from the coronavirus was announced Friday by Butler County officials as the number of cases in the county rose to 53.

Jennifer Bailer, commissioner of the Butler County General Health District, said the 77-year-old man did not live in Hamilton or Middletown but would not specify where in the county he was from.

“His family was able to be present with him when he passed,” Bailer said.

She said the family is now in quarantine and “they are all doing well.”

The first county death from coronavirus was an 86-year-old man who had been living alone at his house in Hamilton when he became ill. He was transported Saturday to a hospital with a cough, shortness of breath and fatigue and was tested that day. He died on Sunday and the test results came back at 10:30 p.m. Monday.

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The most recent detailed report of cases in in Butler County — released on Mondays and Thursdays by the county health department — indicated Liberty and West Chester townships had the most confirmed coronavirus cases in the county.

At the time of that report, there were 49 cases in Butler County. The breakdown of cases by location, which is where the people live, as of Thursday:

• West Chester Twp. - 13

• Liberty Twp. - 13

• Hamilton or Hamilton mailing address - 6

• Oxford - 5

• Fairfield - 4

• Middletown - 4

• College Corner - 1

• Fairfield Twp. - 1

• Monroe - 1

• Okeana - 1

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The Journal-News asked the health district’s spokeswoman for the location of the second death after it was announced on Friday and was told the information would not be released. Butler County Prosecutor Mike Gmoser said he’ll review the possible release of such information.

“The prosecuting attorney thinks that this information is certainly relevant to the public inquiry concerning this horrible virus,” he said. “And he is going to review this issue immediately with the county health director, to determine what her decision is with respect to the release of it, and what my advice is with respect to the release of it.”

Officials from Fairfield and Liberty Twp. said they have not had any COVID-19 deaths. West Chester Twp. said it couldn’t release information about patients facilities in the township care for. Other jurisdictions did not respond.

Bailer cautioned against reading too much into the individual community counts in the latest detailed county report.

“That does not necessarily include where they work, socialize, worship and shop,” she said. “Not every community has an equal risk and not every person in the community has an equal risk as far as where they go each day… It is important to use the tool of our epidemiology report as a guide and for situational awareness, but it is not to be used as a lay person’s risk assessment.”

Butler County Emergency Management Agency Director Matt Haverkos outlined multiple county efforts during a Friday news conference that included Bailer and county commissioners.

“I want you to rest assured there are a number of partners that are tied into this emergency operation center,” Haverkos said. “Many of which you haven’t heard of that are working behind the scenes, to ensure that we have transportation, to ensure that we have resources like medical equipment, feeding equipment, personal protective equipment for both our health care workers and our first responders and a proper information flow of what’s happening around the county.”

The Emergency Operations Center has distributed more than 42,703 N95 masks, 38,600 surgical masks, 717 eye goggles, 6,200 gowns, 1,800 boxes of gloves and more than 1,000 thermometers throughout the county.

Commissioner Cindy Carpenter, who moderated the news conference that also included representatives from the county’s eight hospitals, implored everyone to stop the spread.

“Please, please, please, please, please, stay the heck home,” Carpenter said.

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