GALLIA COUNTY — Gallia County Health Department announced Wednesday that a second confirmed case of COVID-19 had been found with an individual in Gallia County and then shortly after announced a confirmed third case the same day.
According to the Gallia Health Department’s Facebook page, “The Gallia County Health Department is reporting our third confirmed case of COVID-19 in Gallia County. This individual is not being treated through Holzer Health System. We stress the importance of following the stay at home guidelines and urge individuals to follow social distancing. 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. Any individuals who may have had contact with positive or symptomatic individuals will be notified.”
Gallia’s first confirmed COVID-19 case was announced March 20 and its first COVID-19 death was announced March 24. A non-Gallia resident was confirmed positive for COVID-19 by Holzer Health System, March 27. As of press time, Lawrence County has one COVID-19 case, Athens County has three cases and one confirmed death and Mason County, W.Va., has three confirmed cases. Also Wednesday evening, public health officials from Jackson County, W.Va., which borders both Meigs and Mason counties, reported a COVID-19 related death.
A press release from the Jackson County (W.Va.) Health Department stated, “The patient had several underlying health issues and passed away while in the hospital. ‘We extend our heartfelt sympathies to the patient’s family and friends,’” said Dr. I John Synder, D.O., health officer for Jackson County Health Department.
Dr. Synder also stated, “this is a tragic development in this outbreak. The Jackson County Health Department is taking necessary, carefully considered steps to slow down the spread of the disease and to protect those at greatest risk.”
The release also stated no additional information or details would be released about the individual’s death, the name of the hospital, or city of residence.
According to Gallia Health Department’s Tyler Schweickart, the department investigates positive infection cases by first seeing whether the infected individual traveled to an area with positive COVID-19 cases in the prior two weeks. The department also makes certain to speak with the positively-tested individual’s family members or anyone who may have come in contact with them. If the department finds symptomatic individuals, they are placed under isolation protocols and those who are showing no symptoms are placed in quarantine for two weeks. The health department continues to seek those who came into contact with symptomatic individuals, starting with the original positive case patient until they find contacts without symptoms. Those individuals are then asked to monitor themselves for any developing symptoms.
Organizations and businesses a positively-tested patient may have visited are alerted to the possibility of contact. The health department then follows the line of any individuals displaying symptoms. Should the health department believe that an individual who was infected attended a larger, public location, the department would contact the location and make a public announcement asking for individuals who had traveled to the location at a specific time in question to contact the department.
Dean Wright is a staff writer for Ohio Valley Publishing and can be reached at 740-446-2342. Beth Sergent contributed to this report.