Warren County health officials say they are overwhelmed by COVID surge

Warren County health officials urged residents to follow recommended steps to help slow a 70% surge in the local spread of COVID-19.

“The Warren County Health District (WCHD) has recently become overwhelmed with the rapid acceleration in the number of new positive COVID-19 cases being reported,” a press release issued Friday said.

The county has received 20 percent of its total cases in November and 49 percent since the beginning of October, said Dustin Ratliff, emergency response coordinator.

“We’re not seeing any indications of leveling off,” Ratliff added.

The county health office has been averaging 110 new cases daily and so far peaked at 174 cases in a single day on Thursday.

“There has been a 72% increase in the average daily cases since Nov. 1 and a 440% increase in reported cases since Oct.1,” the department said in the press release.

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Over the past two weeks, hospitalizations in Southwest Ohio have increased 67% , COVID-19 patients in intensive care units by 50%.

“We are at a critical point in the response to the coronavirus pandemic,' the health department said.

To manage the surge, Warren County has hired more contact tracers and contracts signed with Wright State University.

Because Wright State has been providing contract tracers for multiple counties, they provide the staffing, Ratliff added.

“Until additional resources are in place and operational for contact tracing,” the health department said it’s sending letters to people who are not able to be contacted via phone.

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“It is imperative that everyone increases their efforts to slow the spread of COVID-19 in the community. Now is the time to focus on the measures we know can slow the spread of the virus and protect yourself and others," the health department said.

While the department is overwhelmed by the surge, funding is not a problem, due to additional monies made available during the pandemic, Ratliff said.

The department urges residents to:

• Stay home if you are sick

• Stay home if you have been exposed to COVID-19

• Avoid gatherings, limit contact with people outside of your household, and reconsider holiday plans

• Keep six feet of distance from others

• Wear a mask

• Wash your hands

“If you are notified by a healthcare provider that you have tested positive for COVID-19, isolate away from others at your house and inform your close contacts that they need to quarantine in their home for 14 days from the last time you had close contact with them.”

For more information, call 1-833-4-ASK-ODH (1-833-427-5634) seven days a week, from 9 a.m.-8 p.m. or visit warrenchd.com.

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