This week marks a milestone in what has been a trying last 15 months for so many, including those of us in the world of local journalism.
Friday, June 4 is to be the final “regular COVID-19 update” from the Meigs County Health Department and therefore will be the end of something that has consumed nearly the past 15 months of my work days.
Whether it was news conferences from Ohio Governor Mike DeWine or Dr. Amy Acton, or similar news conferences from West Virginia Governor Jim Justice or even federal government officials, it was safe to say that days were spent trying to listen to, decipher and bring you — our readers — along with ourselves and our families the most up to date information on the COVID-19 pandemic.
For me, 2 p.m. each afternoon was “DeWine time.” This was an hour (sometimes more) dedicated to listening to the latest from the state of Ohio on the pandemic which first seemed to not really impact our corner of the state. Those 2 p.m. news conferences became a routine, with the state’s COVID-19 dashboard also updating each day at that time.
Following those updates came the task of updating our article which would appear the next day in our print editions and online. Trying our best to update with what was said that day and the latest numbers.
On July 1, 2020, we published the first chart of cases. In those charts, Gallia County had 14 cases, Mason County had 18 cases and Meigs County had 11 cases. Today, that chart, in Gallia County alone includes nearly 2,400 cases.
That little chart of information that you would see each day in our three newspapers as part of the COVID update was something that myself, Kayla Dunham and Beth Sergent would spend time updating, checking and triple checking the numbers to make sure things were correct.
Some days that OCD would kick in when the cases were shuffled from one age group to the other by ODH or WVDHHR as they worked to correct their case data. Nevertheless, we continued to update those charts to show you exactly what was going on with COVID-19 in your county and the tri-county region. Data corrections at the state level also led to some decreases in COVID-19 deaths or even recovered cases, which would lead to unexpected and briefly unexplained changes in the data.
As we conclude the “daily COVID updates” know that it has been a long journey.
As of June 4, 2021, Gallia County has reported 2,396 cases, Mason County 2,037 cases and Meigs County 1,523 cases.
To compare on June 4, 2020, Mason County had only 15 cases, Gallia eight and Meigs six.
Meigs County was even one of the final few on my COVID-19 county map to be colored in. (Yes, I had a color coded map in the beginning. Trust me it left a long time ago — after Vinton County was declared the last-man standing).
As COVID cases dwindle and the updates become much fewer, we are still here to bring you the news that impacts the region and your daily lives, just hopefully not regarding a pandemic.
Sarah Hawley is managing editor of The Daily Sentinel.