COVID-19 reaches a critical point in Clermont County

BATAVIA – The number of new cases of COVID-19 in Ohio and Clermont County is increasing at an alarming rate. The state of Ohio reported an all-time high of 8,071 new cases on Friday, November 13. A high of 186 new cases was reported in Clermont County on November 13.

As of November 12, when the latest public health advisory system numbers were released, Clermont County had a rate of 410 new cases per 100,000 residents. For comparison, on October 1, the county’s rate was only 62 new cases per 100,000 residents. During the week of November 8-14, there was a 140 percent increase in the number of daily cases in Clermont County.

The exponential growth in the number of new cases in Clermont County has made it nearly impossible to keep up with disease investigation and contact tracing. “Up until this point, our goal has been to begin disease investigations within 24 hours of each new case being reported to us,” said Health Commissioner Julianne Nesbit.

Disease investigations take time and involve a public health staff member calling each individual who has tested positive and get details like where they may have been exposed, every location they have been in the previous few days, and every person they may have been in contact with.

After public health does their initial investigation, then they begin the process of contact tracing. That usually involves calling each person who was considered a close contact with the infected person and advising them to quarantine for 14 days from the date of exposure.

“We have hired additional contact tracers, but it’s still not enough to keep up with the demand,” said Nesbit. “Our staff is doing everything we possibly can to keep up with the new cases, we are physically and emotionally exhausted, but we are continuing to do this important work to the best of our ability to protect our community.”

In addition to hiring additional contact tracers, Clermont County Public Health (CCPH) has been using staff members from every other department to fill in the gaps and assist with contact tracing. CCPH also has a contract with the Ohio Department of Health for additional contact tracers that are being cross-trained to assist with disease investigations.

Public Health has switched from making phone calls in some situations to sending emails to

provide information on quarantine to save time. Now, with this many new cases, they have also begun mailing letters to each person that tests positive to save time. Phone calls are still being made when CCPH is aware of situations where there are a large number of contacts and the potential for further spread of the disease.

The letters notify each person that tests positive what to do while they are in isolation and asks them to identify their contacts, who are advised to quarantine. “We are seeing so many new cases, we just cannot possibly keep up at this rate,” said Nesbit.

“Local hospitals are already being stressed,” said Nesbit. “While all hospitals have surge plans in place where they can add more beds and take in more patients, they are going to run out of healthy, experienced workers to care for the sick patients, if this trend continues.”

A summary of local hospital data can be found at https://www.cctst.org/covid19

“We saw in the spring that we can flatten the curve, but we must be extra vigilant now, especially with the holidays coming up,” urged Nesbit.

What can you do to help?

  • Stay home if you are sick.
  • Quarantine yourself if you have been around someone who recently tested positive for COVID-19.
  • Wear a mask whenever you are in public.
  • Avoid large crowds.
  • Keep at least six feet of space between yourself and others.
  • Limit contact with people outside of your immediate household.

If you are tested and receive a positive test result, you should:

  • Isolate yourself in your own home, away from others, as much as possible, for at least 10 days after your symptoms first appeared.
  • Notify each person you had direct contact with (defined as someone within six feet of you for a length of 15 minutes or longer within 24 hours) and ask them to quarantine in their house for 14 days after the potential exposure occurred.

For more information or resources, visit the Ohio Department of Health’s coronavirus website at www.coronavirus.ohio.gov or Clermont County Public Health’s website at www.ccphohio.org.

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Clermont County Public Health earns sixth straight Auditor of State Award

BATAVIA, OH – For the sixth year in a row, Clermont County Public Health (CCPH)
has earned the Auditor of State Award. The award is given annually to local governments and school districts after completing a financial audit. To receive the award, agencies must have a clean audit report.

Some of the criteria to meet a clean audit report include:

• Filing financial reports on time
• The audit does not contain any findings of wrongdoing or questioned costs
• The independent audit contains no comments related to ethics referrals
• No public meetings or public records issues
“Our Fiscal Officer, Katrina Stapleton, is a one-person finance department,” said Health Commissioner Julianne Nesbit. “But, we could not do it without the tremendous help we receive from the Clermont County Auditor’s Office.”

Ms. Stapleton has received this honor every year since she’s been the fiscal officer for CCPH. “To earn the award this year, with the extra workload during the COVID pandemic, shows her incredible attention to detail and meticulous record-keeping abilities,” said Nesbit.

Normally, Clermont County Public Health has a staff of about 50 employees with an annual operating budget of about $4 million. In 2019 approximately 40 percent of their revenue came from local licenses and fees and about 30 percent came from state and federal grants.

The COVID response has surged 2020 staffing levels to 86 employees and the budget has increased to nearly $5.9 million. The full audit report can be viewed online at www.ohioauditor.gov.

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Photo: Clermont County Public Health Fiscal Officer Katrina Stapleton holding the Auditor of State Award.

Clermont County moves back to red

After three weeks at a level 2 (orange) advisory, Clermont County has been moved back to level 3 advisory under the Public Health Advisory System.

Clermont County was last under a level 3 advisory from October 1-8. That time it was mainly due to an increase in outpatient visits and visits to emergency departments due to COVID-like illness.

Clermont County currently meets four of the 7 indicators that are used to decide a county’s risk level.

The four indicators that are met are:

  • The number of new cases per capita (219.9 cases per 100,000 residents)
  • A sustained increase in new cases (Increase from 30.7 average cases on 10/10 to 40.14 on 10/20)
  • The proportion of cases that are not in congregate living facilities
  • A sustained increase in hospital admissions (1.4 average admissions on 10/15 to 4.4 admissions on 10/22).

On October 15, Clermont County was designated as a high incidence county due to the increased spread of the virus. A county is declared high incidence when it has more than 100 cases per 100,000 residents over the last two weeks.

For comparison, on October 1, the rate for Clermont County was 62.49 new cases per 100,000 residents. On October 29 the rate increased to 219.9 new cases per 100,000 residents.

For more information on the Public Health Advisory System, click here

For a full list of the alert indicators, click here

To see the data for Clermont County, click here

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COVID-19 rates are increasing – how big is your bubble?

Clermont County, along with the rest of Ohio has seen a significant increase in the number of new cases of COVID-19 over the last few weeks. Although the county remains in the “orange” under the public health advisory system as of October 22, it is now classified as a high incidence county. A high incidence county is defined by the Ohio Department of Health as a county that has had more than 100 cases per 100,000 residents within the past two weeks.

For comparison, on October 1, Clermont County had a rate of 62 new cases per 100,000 people. As of 10/22, the rate was 182 new cases per 100,000.

In addition to an increase in cases, we are also seeing a large increase in the number of close contacts for each confirmed case – or an infected person. That means people are getting together with more people than they were in the spring or early summer when the virus was spreading at a slower rate. We are also seeing fewer people wearing masks.

Without a vaccine, our best chance of slowing the spread of this virus and preventing our hospitals from being overwhelmed is to continue to practice the prevention measures that have been in place.

With the holidays just around the corner, it is important to consider our everyday interactions with other people and how many people are in our social circles, or how many people we interact with.

While your social bubble may consist only of your immediate family members and a few co-workers, you must also consider how big the bubble is of your family members. If each member of your family each has their own bubble outside of your family – school, work, sports teams, friends, etc. the potential risk of getting and spreading COVID-19 also increases.

The more interactions you have with other people, and the longer those interactions are, the higher your potential risk is of getting COVID-19.

As we head into flu season, it is more important than ever to do our best to minimize the spread of this virus. It is imperative that we all take responsibility to do our part to minimize the spread of this virus.

What can you do?

  • Cover your mouth and nose when in public. The more people that wear masks and wear them properly, the better the chances we have of limiting the spread.
  • Avoid crowded places.
  • Wash your hands often.
  • Stay home if you have COVID symptoms and follow up with your healthcare provider.
  • Keep your bubble, or social circle small. The fewer people you and your family come in close contact with, the lower your risk of catching and spreading the virus.

For more information on COVID-19 in Clermont County, click here.

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Clermont County moves to a level two (orange) advisory

October 8, 2020

Clermont County has moved back to a level two (orange) advisory under the Ohio Public Health Advisory System. The advisory system, first introduced on July 2, uses a set of seven indicators to measure how much COVID-19 is spreading in each of Ohio’s 88 counties. On October 1, Clermont County was elevated from a level two to a level three advisory.

The risk levels under the advisory are determined by seven alert indicators. Those indicators are:

  • New cases per capita
    • A sustained increase in new cases
    • Proportion of cases that are not in congregate living facilities
    • A sustained increase in emergency room visits
    • A sustained increase in outpatient visits
    • A sustained increase in new COVID-19 hospital admissions
    • Intensive care unit bed occupancy

As of October 8, Clermont County met two of the seven indicators. Those indicators are:

  • The number of new cases per capita
  • The proportion of cases that are not in congregate living facilities
  • A sustained increase in the number of emergency department visits

For more information on each of the seven alert indicators, click here.

A county that meets 2 or 3 of the above indicators will be under a level 2 (orange) emergency.
A county that meets 4 or 5 of the above indicators will be under a level 3 (red) emergency.

For a list of all the data used to make this determination for Clermont County, click here.

Clermont County moves to a level 3 public health advisory

After four weeks at a level 2 (orange) advisory, Clermont County has been moved to a level 3 advisory under the Public Health Advisory System.

“While we never want to see us go into the red, the rate of transmission and spread of the virus in Clermont County has remained fairly constant over the last month, so we are hopeful we can get back into the orange soon.”

The two indicators that triggered the increase from a level two to a level three advisory are related to visits to hospitals and healthcare providers. The ED visit and outpatient visits had been declining over the last few weeks, but recently they have increased. Under the system created by the Ohio Department of Health, a sustained increase of five days within the last three weeks is enough to trigger each of those indicators.

A county that meets four or five of the seven indicators will be placed under a level 3 advisory.

Clermont County meets four of the seven indicators by the Ohio Department of Health. Those indicators are:

  • The number of new cases per capita (62.5 cases per 100,000)
  • The proportion of cases that are not in congregate living facilities
  • A sustained increase in Emergency Department visits
  • A sustained increase in outpatient visits for COVID-like illness

For more information on the Public Health Advisory System, click here

For a full list of the alert indicators, click here

To see the data for Clermont County, click here

“We just want to remind everyone to continue the practices of mask-wearing, social distancing and avoiding crowded areas to continue to limit the spread of the virus,” said Nesbit.
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New COVID-19 data dashboard now online

Clermont County Public Health has a new interactive COVID-19 data dashboard on its website. In addition to the number of confirmed, probable and active cases, the new dashboard includes the following data:

  • A graph of the number of Clermont County residents who are currently hospitalized with COVID-19.
  • The number of COVID-19 cases by age group.
  • The number of cases by gender.
  • A line graph of the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in the county by illness onset date.

The new dashboard will be updated on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

In early September, CCPH published a similar dashboard that shows the number of active cases in Clermont County in each zip code. An active case means a person has tested positive and is still considered contagious.

To view the new data dashboard, visit: https://ccphohio.org/covid-19/

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Clermont County gives more than 90,000 pieces of PPE to schools

September 1, 2020

BATAVAIA, OHClermont County Public Health and the Clermont County Emergency Management Agency (EMA) have handed out more than 90,000 pieces of personal protective equipment to area schools to help them prepare for the start of the school year.

As schools resume in-person learning, all students, faculty and staff in K-12 schools are required to wear face coverings under the Ohio Department of Health order that was issued on August 13.

“We have been working closely with all of our schools to create plans for starting school as safely as possible,” said Health Commissioner Julianne Nesbit. “Having the appropriate PPE is crucial to keeping students, faculty and staff safe.”

Some of the PPE that has been handed out to Clermont County schools so far  includes:

  • 32,000 KN90 masks
  • 24,000 surgical masks
  • 23,500 protective gloves
  • 6,500 cloth masks
  • 3,900 face shields
  • 1,000 KN95 masks
  • 180 no-touch thermometers

The KN90 masks were part of the 2 million masks that the Ohio Emergency Management Agency distributed for Ohio’s schools earlier in August.

“School budgets are already tight, so we hope this PPE will protect the students and staff, while also easing the burden put on school budgets,” said Pam Haverkos, director of the Clermont County Emergency Management Agency.

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Clermont County moves to a level two public health advisory

Clermont County has moved back to a level two (orange) advisory under the Ohio Public Health Advisory System. The advisory system, first introduced on July 2, uses a set of seven indicators to measure how much COVID-19 is spreading in each of Ohio’s 88 counties. On July 9, Clermont County was elevated from a level two to a level three advisory.

On July 30, Clermont County moved from a level three back down to a level two advisory.
On August 13, Clermont County moved from a level two back to a level three advisory.
The risk levels under the advisory are determined by seven alert indicators. Those indicators are:

• New cases per capita
• A sustained increase in new cases
• Proportion of cases that are not in congregate living facilities
• A sustained increase in emergency room visits
• A sustained increase in outpatient visits
• A sustained increase in new COVID-19 hospital admissions
• Intensive care unit bed occupancy

As of August 27, Clermont County met two of the seven indicators. Those indicators are:

  • The number of new cases per capita
  • The proportion of cases that are not in congregate living facilities

For more information on each of the seven alert indicators, click here.

A county that meets 2 or 3 of the above indicators will be under a level 2 (orange) emergency.
A county that meets 4 or 5 of the above indicators will be under a level 3 (red) emergency.

As of August 27, Clermont County met the threshold for 5 of the 7 indicators including:

For a list of all the data used to make this determination for Clermont County, click here.

Clermont County moves to level 3 advisory

Governor DeWine announced on August 13 that Clermont County is under a level 3 Public Emergency under the Ohio Public Health Advisory System. The advisory system was first introduced by Governor Mike DeWine on July 2. The advisory system is a color-coded system that can be used by local communities to help make decisions based on the COVID-19 risk level for each county.

The risk levels are determined by seven alert indicators. Those indicators are:

  • New cases per capita
  • A sustained increase in new cases
  • Proportion of cases not in congregate living facilities
  • A sustained increase in emergency room visits
  • A sustained increase in outpatient visits
  • A sustained increase in new COVID-19 hospital admissions
  • Intensive Care Unit bed occupancy

For more information on each of the seven alert indicators, click here.

A county that meets 2 or 3 of the above indicators will be under a level 2 (orange) emergency.

A county that meets 4 or 5 of the above indicators will be under a level 3 (red) emergency.

As of August 13, Clermont County met the threshold for 5 of the 7 indicators including:

  • New cases per capita
  • Proportion of cases not in a congregate setting
  • A sustained increase in emergency room visits for COVID-like illness
  • A sustained increase in outpatient visits for COVID-like illness
  • A sustained increase in new COVID hospital admissions

For a list of all of the data used to make this determination for Clermont County, click here.