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8 deaths reported by care facility

LISBON — Eight deaths from the past three weeks of residents of a long-term care facility have been linked to the coronavirus.

According to the county health department, the eight deaths were entered at the same time into the Ohio Disease Reporting System instead of as they occurred. The first death was an 88-year-old woman, who died on Aug. 26, followed by a 79-year-old man on Aug. 27. A third August death is listed as a 68-year-old woman on Aug. 31.

Three died on Sept. 6 — an 81-year-old man, an 84-year-old woman and a 95-year-old woman. A 100-year-old man died on Sept. 10. Finally, an 83-year-old woman died on Sept. 13.

While the reporting of deaths and cases lag, the health department verifies the information prior to releasing it. At this point, the health department reports there have been 79 deaths related to COVID-19 in Columbiana County with 51 of them residents of long-term care facilities. Another nine were inmates at the federal prison in Elkton while 19 were residents of the community.

Still, during Wednesday’s meeting of the board of health, medical services administrator Jamie Elenz reported new local case numbers have been declining with only three new coronavirus cases reported on Wednesday. Elenz said at this moment only two people hospitalized in Columbiana County hospitals have tested positive for coronavirus.

The health department reports 10 new positive cases since Friday, Sept. 11, including one resident of a long-term care facility and nine community members. The local total from the beginning of the pandemic has been 1,912 cases.

Health Commissioner Wes Vins said he credits a lot of this to the good work people are doing wearing their masks and following the other protocols, including the schools that have now all reopened. He reported to the board that both the football games at Wellsville and at Beaver Local received perfect scores when someone from the Ohio High School Athletic Association attended the game and looked for compliance issues.

Vins said even the youngest preschoolers are taking being back in school seriously, doing their best to wear masks, wash their hands and stay distant from their friends.

In other matters during Wednesday’s meeting:

— The board approved the social media policy for the health department. Vins said utilizing Facebook has allowed the health department to communicate their message with a new group of residents and allows them to receive feedback or address specific questions.

— With numbers currently in decline, Vins asked the board for permission to search for a nurse who can be trained as a disease tracker and assist with upcoming flu vaccines. Although no date has been released, the flu vaccination clinic will be hosting events with proposed locations in Columbiana and Salineville.

djohnson@mojonews.com

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