GALLIPOLIS — As part of a statement released on social media, Gallia County Health Department is reporting its first positive case of COVID-19.
The statement reads, “Gallia County Health Department is reporting our first positive case of COVID-19. At this time, we please ask residents to refrain from calling the Health Department for questions regarding this case while we complete our disease investigation and notify relevant individuals. We urge residents to practice good social distancing and not congregate in large groups. We were fully aware this was only a matter of time and we urge residents not to panic. Grocery stores and other services not already closed will remain open and a large influx of customers would only put each of you at risk. We thank you for your continued cooperation.”
Ohio Valley Publishing believes this to be the first such case confirmed in southeast Ohio.
“As of Friday evening March 20, Holzer was informed of a Gallia County resident confirmed to have contracted COVID-19. The person identified was not tested or treated at a Holzer facility, and Holzer has no confirmed current cases; however, our thoughts and prayers are with this patient and their family during this most difficult time,” said Dr. Mike Canady, CEO of Holzer Health System in a provided release.
The release further said that Holzer Health System has a multi-disciplinary task force working around-the-clock to ensure that precautionary measures are taken to reduce risk of infection to patients, communities, and employees. Staff is following educational protocols provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
If community members are experiencing flu-like symptoms (fever, headaches, body aches), they are encouraged to seek medical attention from a healthcare provider. It is important that local health departments and or healthcare providers first be contacted so that they may provide guidance for COVID-19 testing.
As recommended by the Ohio Department of Health (ODH), all community members are encouraged to minimize their risks of infectious diseases by using the following precautions: Stay home when you are sick. Avoid contact with people who are sick. Get adequate sleep and eat well-balanced meals. Wash hands often with water and soap for 20 seconds or longer. Dry hands with a clean towel or air dry your hands. Cover your mouth with a tissue or sleeve when coughing or sneezing. Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth with unwashed hands or after touching surfaces. Clean and disinfect high touch (counters, tabletops, doorknobs, bathroom fixtures, toilets, phones, keyboards, and tablets) surfaces often. Call before visiting your doctor. Practice good hygiene habits.
ODH Director Amy Acton, M.D., MPH, recommends that families and individuals take the following actions:
Families should have an action plan that identifies individual needs that must be met if a 14-day isolation period is required. This includes appropriate food, prescription medications, non-prescription medications like cold and flu aids, and any other items family members may need for physical or emotional support while ill. If you are caring for grandparents or older adults, keep an eye out for symptoms like difficulty breathing, confusion, or pressure in their chest.
Families should also identify a room in their house that can be used for isolation if a family member becomes ill.
Stay informed about the local COVID-19 situation from public health officials and other credible sources like the CDC website at www.cdc.gov/coronavirus or the ODH website at www.coronavirus.ohio.gov.
If you suspect you may have been exposed to COVID-19 because you have traveled to an area that has sustained or ongoing transmission of COVID-19 or have been exposed and or are exhibiting symptoms of cough, fever, and shortness of breath, contact your healthcare provider and let them know you may have been exposed to COVID-19 before visiting the healthcare facility. This will help the healthcare provider’s office take precautionary steps to keep other people from being exposed.
Holzer Health System said it is working closely with state and local health department agencies for any needs that may arise in communities in response to COVID-19. Ohio Governor Mike DeWine, Lt. Governor Jon Husted and Dr. Acton have convened a group of health advisors from the Ohio Hospital Association, which includes Holzer’s Chief Executive Officer Michael Canady, MD, MBA.
Patients and community members are encouraged to reference the COVID-19 link on Holzer.org or follow the Holzer Health System page on Facebook.