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New COVID case in Belmont County

T-L Photo/ROBERT A. DEFRANK Belmont County employees spray and wipe down seats and areas guests would have touched Wednesday as another measure to stop the spread of COVID-19.

ST. CLAIRSVILLE — Belmont County has one more positive case of the novel coronavirus, according to the Belmont County Health Department.

Deputy Health Commissioner Robert Sproul announced the new case Wednesday at a meeting of the Belmont County Board of Commissioners. He said the positive case is a woman in quarantine, and her husband is being tested. Their ages and location have not been released.

“We had an update just last night. One of the people we are quarantining, basically on Day 12 they started feeling a little bit off. We had them get tested and the result came back late Tuesday (she is) positive for the COVID.”

On March 13, Sproul reported two positive cases in Belmont County, a man and woman in their 50s who attended the Conservative Political Action Conference in Washington, D.C., in late February. The two positive cases, a married couple, were quarantined along with all their contacts for 14 days.

Sproul said he did not have immediate concerns about possible contacts from the new case.

“The lady was in quarantine the entire time since the contact with our other positives, and her husband’s employer had him quarantined when they found out his wife was a contact, so at this point we don’t believe we have any other contacts. We’ve talked to a few people, but these two are our primary concern at this point,” Sproul said.

One of the earlier positive cases — the husband — was reported hospitalized last week at Wheeling Hospital, but he is now reportedly out of the intensive care unit.

“His wife told us he was released,” Sproul said. “All the other contracts have been released. Again, not symptomatic, no problems with them.”

Sproul elaborated on the lastest case.

“This was done by a private lab, not Ohio Department of Health, so that’s why it was a late information to the public,” he said. “We’re still waiting on the results of his tests.”

“We’re getting results back from them randomly. The Ohio Department of Health gets theirs back in within eight to 24 hours and they let us know on a set schedule,” he said. “Now we’re getting them from the private labs, we’re having to react. Again, these two were already quarantined by us, but if we ever get another positive come out, it’s going to be a little more difficult on us because we’re going to be chasing down contacts.”

Sproul commended businesses and organizations such as nail salons that have donated masks to local first responders.

The commissioners were taking precautions Wednesday at their meeting, with no more than 10 people permitted in the room at one time and distancing enforced. The meeting was live streamed to a monitor in the hall. Employees sprayed and wiped down the area afterward.

The commissioners also announced the staffing at offices reporting to them would be reduced, but the courthouse remains open for business by appointment. Other elected officials are taking their own measures in safeguarding their staffs.

On Tuesday evening, the U.S. House of Representatives passed an economic relief stimulus bill. Belmont County Commissioner J.P. Dutton could not say how this would benefit the county, since the extent of losses are not yet fully known.

“We’ll start getting some tax receipt numbers,” Dutton said. “It’s too early to tell. Obviously it’s concerning when you have the number of business locations closed that you do. … We’re a little bit nervous about what that means for next year’s budget.”

For more information about the virus, visit coronavirus.ohio.gov.

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