Clermont County under a level 3 public emergency

Governor Mike DeWine announced on July 9, 2020 that Clermont County was at a level 3 Public Emergency under the new Ohio Public Health Advisory System.

The new 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
  • Sustained increase in new cases
  • Proportion of cases not in congregate living facilities (ex. Nursing homes, long-term care facilities, jails or prisons).
  • Sustained increase in emergency room visits
  • Sustained increase in outpatient visits
  • 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 4 or 5 of the above indicators will be under a level 3 public emergency.

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

  • Sustained increase in new cases
  • Proportion of cases not in congregate living facilities
  • Emergency room visits
  • Outpatient visits
  • ICU bed occupancy

For a list of the full Clermont County data profile, click here.

Under the new guidance, all counties under a level 3 public emergency will have a mask order. Citizens are required to wear masks inside buildings or outside where social distancing is not possible. The order takes effect in Clermont County at 6 p.m. on July 10, 2020.

# # #

Clermont County cases of COVID-19 increasing

Batavia, OH – As more businesses across Ohio begin to reopen, new cases of COVID-19 have been increasing in Clermont County and southwest Ohio. Clermont County Public Health urges residents to continue to take precautions against the virus.

“Now that summer is here, we know that people are anxious for life to return to normal,” said Health Commissioner Julianne Nesbit. “But, this virus will be with us for a while, and the changes we are all making to our lifestyle need to be long-term changes to prevent the spread.”

Clermont County Public Health urges people to continue to follow these guidelines to help stop the spread of COVID-19:

  • Avoid large crowds and gatherings.
  • Practice social distancing and keep at least six feet apart from others.
  • Wear a mask or face covering when in public places.
  • Stay home if you are sick.
  • Wash your hands frequently.
  • Cover your cough and sneezes with your elbow.

Testing is now available at several sites in Clermont County and greater Cincinnati. For a list of testing locations, visit www.ccphohio.org. If you feel sick and think you should be tested, call your healthcare provider.

# # #

Clermont County hands out 145,000 pieces of PPE

Clermont County Public Health and the Clermont County Emergency Management Agency have handed out more than 145,000 pieces of personal protective equipment (PPE) to healthcare workers and first responders in Clermont County in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

PPE is necessary for doctors, nurses and other frontline healthcare workers to prevent them from being infected while they’re treating a patient with COVID-19.

Some of the PPE that has been distributed so far includes:

  • 90,000 gloves
  • 29,000 surgical masks
  • 9,000 N95 respirators
  • 7,500 cloth masks
  • 6,000 face shields
  • 1,200 protective gowns

“We know there has been a limited supply of PPE across the country,” said Pam Haverkos, director of the Clermont County Emergency Management Agency. “The shipments we have received will fill the void and allow local agencies extra time to purchase their necessary supply of PPE, as the supply chain increases,” said Pam Haverkos, director of the Clermont County Emergency Management Agency.

CCPH has received 11 shipments of PPE so far from a combination of the Nation’s Strategic National Stockpile and the State of Ohio’s Emergency Operations Center.

Clermont County Public Health also hosted two donation drives in March where local businesses, school districts and citizens could donate their PPE.

In total, EMA has distributed PPE 154 times to local fire departments, police departments, nursing homes, Mercy Clermont Hospital, local healthcare agencies and government agencies.

“Preserving the PPE supply in our healthcare facilities is one of the reasons we’ve been practicing social distancing and staying at home,” said Health Commissioner Julianne Nesbit. “This will be a long-term response, so PPE will always be in high demand for those on the frontlines, but we’re thankful we’ve been able to help our local partners stretch their supply.”

###

Public Health here to help businesses reopen

NEWS RELEASE                                                
For Immediate Release                                                       

Public Health here to help businesses reopen

 BATAVIA (OH) – Clermont County Public Health (CCPH) is helping local businesses to reopen with new operating guidelines to help minimize the spread of COVID-19.

As part of Governor Mike DeWine’s Responsible Restart Ohio Plan, salons, spas, and barbershops can reopen May 15. Restaurants with outdoor dining can also reopen beginning May 15, if they follow the guidelines established by the Ohio Department of Health. Indoor dining rooms can open on May 21.

“The new COVID-19 guidelines are new for all of us and will be here for a while,” said Health Commissioner Julianne Nesbit. “We are here as a resource to help our businesses open, but we want to make sure they are operating as safely as possible within the new guidelines.”

Once the Restart Ohio plan was announced CCPH has been getting many phone calls and emails from local businesses asking what they need to do to reopen. Guidelines for each industry vary somewhat, but all businesses must require employees to wear face coverings, provide hand-washing stations or hand sanitizer in common areas, and allow for six feet of space between guests.

“Since openings were announced, we’ve talked to businesses from many different industries, looking for guidance,” said Maalinii Vijayan director of environmental health. The questions are the same for each one. “How can those businesses open safely and within the guidelines?”

CCPH, which licenses nearly 900 restaurants and food facilities in Clermont County, contacted all of those restaurants with the latest guidelines for both indoor and outdoor dining when the reopening announcement was made.

“We already have a relationship with our restaurants, and we’re helping them figure out how to keep customers properly spaced, and follow the other guidelines,” said Vijayan. Restaurants have standard hygiene and sanitation practices they follow, and each one should already have staff members trained in food safety, so some of the guidelines shouldn’t be new.

In addition to businesses, many local schools have been turning to CCPH for guidance on how to host their graduation ceremonies. While mass gatherings and in-person graduations are still prohibited, there are some creative ways schools can celebrate virtually.

“We’ve had meetings with school superintendents and are helping them follow the guidance on graduation ceremonies given by ODH, said Nesbit.” Most of the schools in Clermont County are doing some type of virtual celebration.

“The local businesses we’ve talked to want to offer a safe environment for their employees and customers, and we’re here to help them,” said Nesbit.

Clermont County Public Health receives PPE for frontline workers

BATAVIA (OH) – Clermont County Public Health received a shipment of personal protective equipment (PPE) to help protect frontline health care workers and first responders in Clermont County.

The shipment contained six pallets of PPE that was procured from both state and federal sources. Some of the items included were N-95 respirators, face shields, surgical masks and gloves.

This was the fourth shipment of PPE that Clermont County Public Health has received since the COVID-19 outbreak began. The first three shipments came from the nation’s Strategic National Stockpile, a nationwide supply of medicine and medical supplies that can be used by state and local health departments during a public health emergency.

“The supply of PPE is still limited for healthcare workers, but our efforts to flatten the curve and slow the spread of this virus has helped lessen the immediate demand of equipment for our frontline healthcare workers,” said Health Commissioner Julianne Nesbit.

Clermont County Public Health has also hosted two public PPE donation drives and received donations from schools, businesses and citizens.

“We want to thank the State’s Emergency Operation Center for the distribution of PPE,” said Clermont County Emergency Management Director Pam Haverkos. “We will work with Public Health to distribute the supplies to local public safety agencies and healthcare facilities.”

The Clermont County Emergency Management Agency sent surveys to local healthcare facilities and public safety agencies asking what PPE needs each agency has. Those surveys will be used to determine the allotment of equipment each agency receives.

For more information on COVID-19 in Clermont County visit https://ccphohio.org/covid-19/

# # #

More COVID-19 tests available for Clermont County nursing homes

BATAVIA (OH) – Clermont County Public Health received COVID-19 test kits to be used for nursing homes and long-term care facilities in Clermont County.

The test materials came from The Ohio State University’s Wexner Medical Center. They were part of a shipment that was sent to local health departments throughout Ohio.

While CCPH has the test materials, they do not provide testing for COVID-19. The testing kits are available for nursing homes, long-term care facilities, or other places where people are living together in a congregate setting including the Clermont County Jail.

“We know that testing is still limited in Ohio, but having these tests allow long-term care facilities and nursing homes to have better access to testing with a fast turnaround time,” said Health Commissioner Julianne Nesbit.

If a person is tested using these kits, the samples can be sent to the Ohio Department of Health lab in Columbus which provides results within 24 hours or they can be sent to any lab the facility has an agreement with.

“The quicker a test can be performed the sooner a person can be isolated if the test is positive,” said Nesbit.

Due to the limited testing availability statewide, the Ohio Department of Health has listed four priority groups for COVID-19 testing that healthcare providers should follow.

Priority 1

  • Individuals with symptoms who are:
    • Hospitalized.
    • Healthcare workers.

Priority 2

  • Individuals with symptoms who are:
    • In long-term care/congregate living facilities.
    • First responders/critical infrastructure workers.
    • 65 and older.
    • Living with underlying conditions.

  Priority 2a

  • Individuals and staff without symptoms who are:
    • In long-term care/congregate living facilities with an outbreak.

Priority 3

  • Other individuals with symptoms
  • Individuals with mild symptoms in areas with high COVID-19 hospitalizations.

Individuals who are sick and think they may have COVID-19 should call their doctor to ask about getting tested.

For more information on COVID-19 click here.

# # #

What is contact tracing?

 The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted an important but often overlooked part of public health – disease investigations and contact tracing.

In January, COVID-19 was declared a Class A reportable disease by the Ohio Department of Health. Class A diseases have the potential for epidemic spread, so they must be reported immediately to the local health department.

“Once we receive a positive test result, we immediately begin investigating and contact tracing,” said Health Commissioner Julianne Nesbit.

Contact tracing is a public health process to prevent or slow the spread of disease. It involves an extensive interview with the patient, led by a trained epidemiologist, public health nurse, or communicable disease investigator.

“We go back to the day the patient likely became contagious and get a list of every person he or she came in close contact with,” said Nesbit.

That list includes people living in the same household, co-workers, friends or anyone else that was in close contact with the sick person while they were contagious. Close contacts are those that have been closer than six feet for ten minutes or more.

Once public health staff has all the contacts then they call every person on that list and see if they have symptoms and ask them to quarantine for 14 days.

Public Health staff maintain contact with patients with COVID-19 until they have met the criteria to come out of isolation.

“While we’re responding to each new COVID-19 case, we don’t stop investigating and following up with all other diseases that get reported to us,” said Nesbit.

In 2019, CCPH investigated more than 1,600 cases of communicable diseases. Some of those include influenza A, meningitis, hepatitis, chlamydia or any one of nearly 90 other reportable diseases.

Since class A diseases are required to be reported immediately, the CCPH communicable disease team receives phone calls at all hours of the day and on weekends.

“We always have a nurse on call 24/7, but with COVID19 we are getting a lot more phone calls at all hours,” said Nesbit.

The first positive case of COVID-19 in Clermont County was on March 20, but health departments were receiving calls before that.

Because this is a new virus, the Ohio Department of Health initially required all health departments to do contact tracing on patients that were under investigation for COVID-19 before a positive test was received. If a patient had the symptoms, and their physician thought it could be COVID-19 then the health department would do contact tracing. If the test came back negative, they could stop the tracing.

To keep up with the number of new cases and the number of people they need to track, CCPH has created strike teams. These teams are led by an experienced nurse but include employees from all areas of the agency.

“We’re training other staff members on how to do disease investigations, interview patients and make the phone calls involved in contact tracing,” said Nesbit. “It allows us to keep up with the number of new cases, and gives some of our nursing staff a chance to have an occasional day off.”

“This will be a long term response until we get a vaccine,” said Nesbit.”

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

# # #

Zip Code Data Policy

While some local health departments have released zip code data of people who have tested positive for COVID-19, Clermont County Public Health will not release the zip codes of COVID-19 patients and here’s why.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services suggests not releasing any data on patients in populations below 20,000 people.

While there are several zip codes in Clermont County with more than 20,000 people, there are some in the rural parts of the county with fewer than 1,000 people. There are two zip codes that have fewer than 100 people living in them. Releasing the age and gender of a person who has COVID-19 and lives in a zip code or town with a population of only 100 people, would make it much easier to identify that person.

Town/Township Zip Code  Population
Chilo 45112 60
Neville 45156 100
Newtonsville 45158 400
Owensville 45160 700
Moscow 45153 1,600
*Pleasant Plain 45162 2,500
Felicity 45120 3,000
*Franklin Township 45130 4,000
New Richmond 45157 9,000
*Williamsburg 45176 9,000
*Goshen 45122 11,000
*Bethel 45106 12,000
*Union/Pierce Township 45245 18,000
*Union Township 45255 21,000
Amelia   45102 22,000
*Union Township 45244 28,000
Batavia 45103 31,000
Milford 45150 31,000
*Loveland 45140 52,000

*Zipcode encompasses more than one county

Whether someone in your neighborhood has tested positive for COVID-19 or not, our advice does not change, and your chances of getting COVID-19 does not decrease.

What will lower your chances of getting COVID-19 is staying at home, avoiding close contact with any person (other than members of your household), minimizing trips to the grocery store or public places, and washing your hands frequently.

 

Clermont County Public Health reports first COVID-19 death in Clermont County

(BATAVIA, Ohio) – Clermont County Public Health is announcing the first death of a Clermont County resident who tested positive for COVID-19. The patient was a male in his 70’s with underlying health conditions.

“We are saddened by this news and would like to extend our deepest sympathies to the family and friends of this individual,” said Health Commissioner Julianne Nesbit. “This disease has affected our entire community and we are working tirelessly to slow the spread of this virus and minimize its impact. Out of respect for privacy of the patient and his/her family, we will not be releasing any additional identifying information.”

To minimize the spread of this virus, citizens are reminded to follow the stay at home order, practice social distancing and wash their hands frequently.

For more information on the number of COVID-19 cases in Clermont County visit www.ccphohio.org/covid-19

For more information on COVID-19 in Ohio visit ODH’s website at www.coronavirus.ohio.gov

Public Health’s role during COVID-19

As a local health department, part of our daily routine includes investigating diseases that can spread throughout our community. Although we work daily to stop the spread of diseases, COVID-19 is an unprecedented public health pandemic. No matter how much planning we have done this is much bigger than any of us have experienced in our lifetimes.

Since January when the first case of COVID-19 was identified in the U.S. we have been preparing for the outbreak in our community. Here are some of the highlights of some of the other ways we are responding:

  • Our nurses are conducting disease investigations for people who test positive and initially for people who were suspected to have COVID-19. These investigations involve doing an extensive interview and calling each person the patient came in contact with while they were contagious.
  • We are in contact with healthcare providers daily answering questions and providing guidance and direction as we get new information from the Ohio Department of Health.
  • We Participate in bi-weekly conference calls with the Ohio Department of Health to get the most up to date information.
  • We are partnering with the Clermont County Emergency Management Agency, local Fire & EMS agencies, local law enforcement agencies, Mercy Hospital – Clermont and other county and social service agencies. Routine virtual briefings are held with these partners to update each agency on all parts of response efforts.
  • Coordinate testing between healthcare providers and the Ohio Department of Health laboratory. CCPH staff members are assigned to pick up samples daily from healthcare institutions and ensure they arrive in Columbus.
  • We are calling non-essential healthcare facilities and private businesses to ask for donations of personal protective equipment (PPE) for healthcare workers and first responders.
  • Holding donation drive events to collect PPE and sanitization supplies.
  • Reorganizing our daily operations to allow more staff members to respond to questions from the public by phone or email
  • Working with our EMA partners to respond to complaints about non-essential businesses still in operation, or businesses not following social distancing guidelines.
  • Receiving shipments (3 so far) of PPE from the Strategic National Stockpile which houses the nation’s storage of medicine and medical supplies that can be used by local health departments during public health emergencies.
  • Purchasing additional N95 masks for local healthcare workers and first responders.

It is a stressful and uncertain time for all of us, but the little things each of us can do daily like following the stay at home order, practicing social distancing when out in public and limiting our trips to the grocery store all add up to the main goal of easing the strain put on our healthcare system.

If you have questions about COVID-19, you can call the Ohio Department of Health’s hotline at 1-833-4-ASK-ODH (open 7 days a week).

You can also visit our website at www.ccphohio.org or call us at 513-732-7499 for more information, including an update on the number of positive cases of COVID-19 in Clermont County. The Ohio Department of Health’s website has a lot of useful information and resources as well. Visit www.coronavirus.ohio.gov.