POMEROY — The Meigs County Health Department is taking steps to help residents stay informed as COVID-19 (coronavirus) continues to spread in the United States.
Health department officials Courtney Midkiff, Leanne Cunningham and Brody Davis explained that they are working in “situational monitoring” status at this time, making sure local residents have access to accurate and up to date information regarding the pandemic. They began the response on March 4.
At this time, Meigs County has no cases of COVID-19 and no persons under investigation regarding the virus.
In Ohio, as of 2 p.m. on Thursday, there were five confirmed cases, all in the northeast portion of the state. Additionally, there were 52 PUI (persons under investigation) and 30 negative PUIs in Ohio. The total number of people being monitored in the state was 333, this includes many who have recently traveled to areas of concern or have come in contact with people, but are showing no symptoms.
Davis stated that the health department has been in contact with many agencies, county officials and offices in coordinating the response and the handling of the situation.
The health department will be meeting with local school officials on Friday, a meeting which was already scheduled before Governor DeWine’s announcement to close schools beginning next week. Additionally, officials will meet with other county officials and office holders on Tuesday to discuss appropriate steps.
“This is not a hoax, this is reality,” said Administrator Courtney Midkiff. She added that “human beings need to take care of human beings” during this situation.
The health department will be working to provide the best information available through their social media sites, as well as through local media including The Daily Sentinel, in print and online.
Health department officials encouraged people to practice social distancing, frequent and proper hand washing and covering when coughing and sneezing, among other things. Social distancing includes staying at least six feet away from other individuals. Individuals who are not feeling well and/or have a fever are asked to stay home.
Davis said he met on Thursday with officials at the Holzer Meigs Emergency Department regarding COVID-19.
While their is no hospital in the county, Midkiff noted that regional hospitals and medical centers could become overwhelmed with cases, which makes it important for individuals to do what they can to help slow the progression and spread of the virus.
“We need to take care of our own like we always do,” said Midkiff.
Davis encouraged the public to keep informed with newsworthy and trusted sources, not just taking every piece of information on social media to be fact regarding the virus.
“Don’t believe everything you see on social media,” said Davis.
Currently, all testing is available only with a doctor’s order.
Individuals who believe they are showing symptoms (which include fever and cough) are encouraged to call ahead to their doctor or medical facility to advise them of the symptoms and ask what is the proper procedure for treatment and possible testing.
Midkiff reminded that the symptoms can be similar to that of influenza, with flu season having not yet peaked in Ohio for this flu season. Flu vaccines are still available at the Meigs County Health Department.
While it is flu season, and allergy symptoms are beginning to pick up as well, individuals are encouraged to know what is normal and not normal for their own bodies with regard to symptoms.
For more information on COVID-19 visit the Ohio Department of Health website.
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Sarah Hawley is the managing editor of The Daily Sentinel.